Draeger Safety Markets Rescue Transceiver

Draeger Safety is introducing a new line of life-saving products for tracking downed firefighters in partnership with Exit Technologies of Boulder, Colo.

Draeger has entered into an exclusive manufacturing and supply agreement with Exit Technologies, the original developer of the Tracker FRT (Firefighter Rescue Transceiver) and ET (Egress Transmitter). The products were introduced under the names Draeger FRT 1000 and Draeger ETR 1000.

The Draeger FRT 1000 is a low-frequency 457-kHz radio transmitter and receiver contained in a handheld unit. It is worn on the SCBA belt during fireground operations in conjunction with an integrated or stand-alone PASS device.

When a firefighter stops moving for 60 seconds, the unit sends an electromagnetic distress signal that can be tracked by any others on the fireground who are also wearing a Draeger FRT 1000.

The signal transmission can also be activated manually by a distressed firefighter while issuing a Mayday.

The Draeger ETR 1000 is a transmit-only unit that can be placed at exits and other points of safety by the fire attack team or incident commander. The ETR 1000s can be used as “electronic breadcrumbs” by a distressed firefighter attempting reorientation or self-rescue.

Each FRT 1000 has one button for locating firefighters wearing Draeger FRT 1000s and another button for locating ETR 1000s. When switched from standby to search mode, a bright distance display and changing audible signal provide direction to the transmitting Draeger FRT 1000 or ETR 1000.

Nearly 40 U.S. fire departments are already using this technology, originally developed for locating avalanche victims buried in snow. Developer Exit Technologies’ parent company, BCA, is the world’s largest manufacturer of avalanche rescue transceivers, which have saved over 50 lives over the past eight years, according to company officials.

The Draeger system, according to the company, is the only firefighter rescue system designed to enable self-rescue and buddy rescue on the fireground, or “rescue from the inside out.” Each firefighter carries a unit, meaning a search can be conducted at any time by those crewmembers who are closest to the victim.

A separate receiving unit does not need to be brought in from the outside by a rapid intervention team (RIT). Since the low-frequency signal can be detected from outside the building, however, the product can also be used effectively by RIT teams to isolate a victim’s location before entering a hazardous area, thus minimizing exposure to rescue personnel.

“Every year, an average of 100 U.S. firefighters die in the line of duty,” said Draeger Responder Focus Group Manager Rainer Westphal. “Many of these are caused from being lost, trapped, or disoriented. At Draeger, we are strongly committed to safety and believe that the Draeger FRT 1000 will complement our existing line of telemetry systems, thermal imaging cameras and SCBA in supporting firefighter safety. We believe this technology can save as many—or more—lives in the fire service as it has saved in the mountains.”

For more information call 412-788-5650 or email greg.sesny@draeger.com.

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