Scott Announces Wireless Communications System For SCBAs

Scott Epic a new wireless communication system and voice amplifier for use with its SCBAs.
Scott Health & Safety has developed a new wireless communication system and voice amplifier for use with its SCBAs. Called Scott Epic, the new system employs the latest in radio interface and Bluetooth technology.

At the Fire Rescue International exhibition in Dallas, Scott Health & Safety introduced a new wireless communications system and voice amplifier for self contained breathing air (SCBA) facemasks that are compliant with 2007 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

Called Scott Epic, the system incorporates all the latest technology, including radio interface (RI) and Bluetooth wireless, according to Dan McKinney, Scott Health & Safety's marketing communications manager.

"We've already met the 2007 NFPA new air pack standards for voice amplification with this product," McKinney said. "We're all set."

Person-to-person communication among SCBA users is made clear and crisp with the Epic system, according to Scott. The system may also be used with various hand-held two-way radios for remote communications.

What is immediately noticeable about the new product is the wide-diameter speaker, which is angled forward to project sound in the direction the wearer is facing, rather than to the side as other models have been designed. The Epic's voice amplifier/RI and the stand-alone voice amplifier contain 40mm-wide speakers

Ease of operation was a goal for Scott when it developed the Epic voice amplifier, said McKinney.

"It's very simple and easy to use," he said. "Everything is contained right here."

The operator can easily recognize activation when the on/off button is pressed, even with gloved hands as the user will feel and hear a click when the talk button is pressed. When activated, green LEDs illuminate on both the facepiece-mounted voice amplifier/RI and the stand-alone amplifier.

The Epic voice amplifier/RI is a facepiece-mounted device, providing effective voice amplification for person-to-person local communications. It also provides remote communications using wireless technology that lets the unit interface with a personal-issue radio through a communications console. A speaker, located near the user's ear, ensures the reception of a clear, understandable incoming remote message, according to the maker.

System Console

A number of communication functions are housed in the system's console, including a conventional remote lapel microphone and speaker, the system's Bluetooth wireless technology-enabled link, a press-to-talk (PTT) switch for sending remote outgoing transmissions and a radio-specific connector, according to Scott.

The console also contains an emergency alert mechanism that mimics the functions of a two-way radio. Designed to give the user an added measure of safety in emergency situations, the emergency signal is activated by pressing and momentarily holding the button atop the console, said the maker.

Since the system's two components may be used independently or in tandem, the wireless system simplifies moving rapidly from a non-tactical mode, when the user is wearing station duty clothing, to full protective bunker gear and breathing apparatus. The transition from non-tactical to tactical scenarios is made easier because of the wireless link between the Epic's facepiece-mounted amplifier and the console. The wireless link eliminates cumbersome cabling and connectors when donning.

Bluetooth Technology

At the heart of Epic's wireless system is Bluetooth wireless technology, which is a well-established digital communications standard, according to Scott. Bluetooth is a technology designed to eliminate cables and allow electronic devices to communicate over a short-range radio link. In Epic's case, the wireless radio link extends from the voice amplifier/RI to the communications console. According to Scott, Bluetooth has a unique fast frequency-hopping characteristic that enables it to avoid interference from, or give to, other electronic devices.

The wireless link between the voice amplifier/RI and the communications console must be user-activated by momentarily touching together their keyed contacts. Linking wirelessly ties both components together by assigning to them a unique electronic identifier, according to the manufacturer.

The wireless link remains active for any length of time required and the units need not be linked again after they are turned off and activated again. Linking a new component pair takes just seconds.

McKinney said the Bluetooth technology means that there is no radio interface interference when several firefighters are working together in close proximity as each has an assigned link.

Using the system is as simple as turning on both units, and pressing the PTT to transmit over a two-way radio, or to simply talk to communicate locally through the voice amplifier.

Power to the units may be provided by either a rechargeable lithium polymer battery pack or disposable AAA alkaline batteries. Lithium polymer batteries are recharged by means of a four-bay desktop battery charger. A completely discharge battery may be recharged in approximately five hours.

The communications console is provided with a heavy-duty, clothes pin-style attachment clip to securely fasten the device to a garment or heavy fabric turnout gear. An optional suspender-style clip is available.

At 4.2 ounces, the Epic voice amplifier, which attaches to the Scott SCBA facemask, is streamline and provides hands-free communications.

Like the former Scott voice amplifier that has been used on its respirators for nearly 10 years, the new Epic amplifier provides a dependable, easy-to-use means of voice communications with added features, such as auto shut-off and directional speakers, according to Scott.

Global Manufacturer

Scott Health & Safety, a business unit of Tyco International's Fire & Security segment, is a leading manufacturer of innovative respiratory and other personal protective equipment and safety devices for firefighters, industrial workers, police squads, militaries, homeland security forces, and rescue teams around the world.

With five global manufacturing locations, Scott's product line includes self-contained breathing apparatus, supplied air and air-purifying respirators, gas detection instruments, head, face, eye and hearing protection, decontamination showers, and safety signs and markers.

For information call 800-247-7257 or go to www.scotthealthsafety.com.

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