RealTime IT News

Firefighters Go Wireless, via Motorola

On the eve of the first anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, Motorola has lifted the wraps off a wireless communication system for firefighters in distress.

With the plight of firefighters who perished on September 11 on the front burner, Motorola announced its new system, code-named Fireground, would provide improved personnel monitoring, upgraded in-building radio coverage and increased incident command capabilities.

The new mobile communications system is designed for fire commanders to account for personnel at emergency scenes. Fireground would also be equipped with rescue tracking capabilities and a self-contained breathing apparatus.

The Chicago-based Motorola, which makes wireless telecommunications equipment, said each system radio would automatically reports the user's radio ID, which can be set up to highlight a firefighter's name, position and assignment on a mobile command terminal.

"If for any reason a user turns off the radio, the incident commander is automatically informed and can relay that information to the response team. If a critical situation arises with a firefighter, the firefighter can push an emergency button that activates an alarm on the incident management mobile command terminal," the company said.

Additionally, an integrated evacuation feature is fitted to allow a commander to wirelessly transmit a signal to all radios on the scene alerting the presence of immediate danger.

Fireground, which ships in 2003, consists of five central components: the XTS 5000(TM) portable radio, Incident Management Software, Ruggedized Command Terminal, Digital RF Modem and Portable Repeater.

"Together, these components provide improved on-scene and in-building radio coverage, and enhanced personnel accountability and monitoring. Future plans call for the Fireground Communications System to deliver rescue/location tracking and a wireless Self- Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) feature," Motorola said in a statement.

Motorola did not release pricing details of the Fireground product. The company is said to be in negotiations with fire departments nationwide interested in the wireless communication product set.