INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS: Globe Advances On Electronic Firefighter Monitoring System

Globe Manufacturing Company announced it is teaming with Zephyr Technology Corporation and TRX Systems, Inc. to develop and build an integrated body-worn electronics system for firefighters and first responders.

“Globe has been engaged in multiple university and government research and development projects since 2006 with the goal of fielding a useful tool to help firefighters and first responders address the questions ‘Where am I’ and ‘How am I,'” said Mark Mordecai, Globe’s director of business development. “We are excited to join with two best of breed technology platform providers to transition years of research and development into a practical product that can make a significant difference in safety.”

The system, he said, is expected to be immediately useful for workplace assessment, training, rehab, incident command, hazmat, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams, and rapid intervention team (RIT) operations. Other operational uses, he said, will be developed through actual field experience, ongoing physiological research, and normative data collection.

Zephyr Technology delivers real-time physiological status monitoring solutions including sensors, wireless transmission, and remote displays and analysis. Globe said Zephyr’s technology will be incorporated into base-layer shirts that will be flame-resistant, moisture wicking, and comfortable to wear throughout a 24-hour shift and that will replace cotton T-shirts.

TRX Systems delivers infrastructure-free location and tracking for personnel in areas where reliable GPS is unavailable using a body-worn tracking unit and a mobile command station. Globe said technology developed by TRX will be integrated into turnout gear so firefighters can suit up and go.

The Globe body-worn electronics system will integrate the Zephyr and TRX technologies by using a common short-range transmission protocol – a data channel available on most currently installed and new communications radios – and a unified graphical user interface for monitoring both physiology and location/tracking. The system, according to Globe, will feature open architecture so that other sensor-based technologies can be integrated in the future.

Beta field-testing of the new system will start in early 2011, according to Globe, with commercial deployment slated for early 2012.

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