Company, Equipment, FDIC, News, SCBA

MSA Pulls Back Curtain on Innovations for Firefighter Protection


Senior Editor Chris Mc Loone going through a demonstration of the new Bluetooth-enabled communications features of the MSA G1 SCBA.

Less than one year after global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety Incorporated (MSA) introduced its G1 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), the company showcased three new features for the SCBA. These innovations include Bluetooth connectivity for portable gas detection instruments, a collaboration with Motorola Solutions to enable Bluetooth voice communications, and, an industry first—the integration of thermal imaging technology into the SCBA itself. While the integrated TIC concept is still in prototype form, showcasing the new technology at FDIC International 2015 allowed MSA product designers to gain important feedback from the fire service community first hand.

“Since we launched our all-new G1 SCBA at FDIC last year, the response from the fire service has been overwhelming,” says Nish Vartanian, president of MSA North America.. “But for all of us at MSA, launching this product and receiving U.S. Government approval was just a first step. The advanced technology concepts that we’re introducing this week take firefighter safety to the next level.”

Through a new collaboration with Motorola Solutions, the G1 SCBA now features Bluetooth-enabled voice communications between firefighters, transmitted over Motorola Solutions APX radios. This wire-free solution reduces snag hazards and improves fire ground communications.

“This innovative solution demonstrates Motorola Solutions’ commitment to collaborating with other companies to advance firefighter safety,” said Claudia Rodriguez, vice president, Motorola Solutions. “Our APX radios now connect to MSA’s G1 SCBA in an industry-first solution that enables firefighters to speak clearly to each other and their commander via Bluetooth® technology when wearing their G1 SCBA face piece.”

While the G1 SCBA has featured Bluetooth capability since its launch, in anticipation of future technology uses, the ability to link with Motorola Solutions APX radios will be a new standard feature with the G1 beginning in the third quarter. This industry-first solution will also be available as a firmware update to existing units in the field later this year.

MSA’s commitment to integrating the most advanced technology into its product offerings doesn’t end with voice communications. MSA is also using Bluetooth technology to integrate its leading gas detection technology into the G1 SCBA, which will now be able to transmit, through telemetry radio, readings from MSA’s Altair® 5X Portable gas detector. This connectivity allows incident command to remotely monitor potentially toxic environmental conditions on the fireground, or hazmat operation.

Finally, as the only SCBA on the market with a full color control module display, and with rapid advancements in thermal imaging camera technology, the third addition to MSA’s advanced technology showcase is integrated thermal imaging technology built into the SCBA’s control module. Enabling the capability for integrated thermal imaging in a way that’s never been done before, this patent-pending design prototype was unveiled for the first time at FDIC.

For more information, visit www.msasafety.com.