Grace Industries Inc. recently announced the new “one-of-a-kind” NFPA-compliant firefighter stand-alone Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) and RF PASS. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is responsible for establishing safety standards for the fire industry including fire department personal protective equipment (PPE) which must be compliant with NFPA standards in order to be eligible to receive government funding for purchases.
PASS is a fire industry acronym for Personal Alert Safety System and sometimes referred to as a DSU- Distress Signal Unit. The traditional firefighter PASS or DSU alarm provides only a loud audible alarm in the hopes that another crew member will hear it; no longer will a firefighter need to rely on just audible alarms of a traditional PASS. Grace has designed a new NFPA compliant RF PASS that is both a loud audible alarm and an RF PASS, that uses radio signaling to alert the fire ground and the Incident Commander directly via wireless connectivity. RF PASS provides the Incident Commander the ability to receive wireless RF MAYDAY distress alarm signals from the firefighter and issue automated wireless Personnel Accountability Report (PAR) and wireless EVAC commands.
A problem within the fire industry exists for firefighters who remove their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and then continue to work on the fireground during fire overhaul and other operations. Most firefighters today are using PASS and RF PASS systems which are integrated into the SCBA, and require the firefighter to wear the SCBA to use the PASS system. When the firefighter removes the SCBA, and continues to work on the fire ground, it places them in danger and out of compliance with NFPA standards. Grace devices can be moved from one piece of protective clothing to another to keep the firefighter within NFPA compliance at all times.
Grace has solved this problem for the firefighter with their new “one-of-a-kind” standalone fifth generation SuperPASS®5, SuperPASS®5X and TPASS®5 (NFPA compliant standalone PASS and RF PASS). The Grace stand-alone PASS and RF PASS are not integrated into any SCBA and do not rely on a firefighter having to wear the SCBA to stay protected. Grace is the only manufacturer with a stand-alone NFPA compliant PASS and RF PASS that protects every firefighter regardless of whether an SCBA is worn.
A major contributing factor leading to fireground injuries has been congested radio voice channels. High levels of voice radio traffic lead to chaos and confusion, putting firefighters at risk of not hearing critical messages such as the evacuation command or call for PAR; this is a second problem solved by Grace RF PASS and NFPA In-Command® compliant accountability system. The wireless Personnel Accountability Report (PAR) check is a function of the accountability system that significantly reduces radio voice traffic on the fireground while keeping the Incident Commander “in the know” with a full report of acknowledgements from their crew.
Grace has developed the “one-of-a-kind” stand-alone firefighter SuperPASS®5X functioning as a traditional audio PASS alarm that when field upgraded becomes an RF PASS with all of the performance and features of a TPASS®5 for use with Grace In-Command® accountability systems. The SuperPASS®5X is the first device to provide a field upgradable migration path for budget conscious departments and a “ladder up” into Grace Fire Fighter In-Command® Emergency Signaling and Automated Accountability Systems. The 2013 NFPA Compliant TPASS®5 improves upon the prior-gen TPASS®4 and features a smaller, lighter and louder RF PASS with a new internal antenna design. The TPASS®5 and upgraded SuperPASS®5X are backward compatible with Grace’s Firefighter
Accountability Systems including In-Command® upgraded with First-In and In-Command® Full Crew. These systems are designed to fit the operational structure of all departments regardless of size. Grace SuperPASS®5 and TPASS®5 systems are stand-alone, do not require integration with SCBA breathing apparatus, and satisfy NFPA requirements to protect all fire ground personnel inside or outside of the hot zone.
Many firefighter accountability systems in use today are manually-operated and complex, requiring dedicated personnel to manage and do not protect all firefighters on the fire ground. Because these systems rely on a PASS that is integrated within the SCBA, these systems leave the remaining fire ground personnel outside of the hot zone unprotected. Grace’s In-Command® First-In and In- Command® Full Crew Emergency Signaling Accountability Systems are the fire industry’s only NFPA compliant accountability systems that will support stand-alone RF PASS and protect firefighters when they remove their SCBA.
The Grace In-Command® First-In Emergency Signaling Accountability System does not require integration with breathing apparatus and is designed to support all members including personnel of a smaller department’s “first-in” crew who do not always have the time or personnel to set-up a full accountability system. When used with the In-Command® First-In Tablet Application, the In-Command®
First-In Emergency Signaling Accountability System is an NFPA-compliant accountability system. First-In Tablet is simple to use and quick to deploy. The heart of the system is the Wi-Fi enabled Incident Alarm Monitor used to communicate with the In- Command® First-In Tablet App for Android. The Incident Alarm Monitor also is used to alert fire ground personnel with an extremely loud siren, strobe light and provides an EVAC push-button to send an RF Evacuation signal to TPASS®5/5X.
In-Command® Full Crew is a second NFPA-compliant PC based Emergency Signaling and Automated Accountability System designed with all of the features of In-Command® First-In and with advanced features that fit the operational structure of larger departments. In-Command® Full Crew provides mutual-aid accountability and monitoring using Windows 7 version software designed for use on laptops and Windows tablets.
Grace Industries’ President Bob Campman states, “The SuperPASS® 5X and TPASS®5 solve two common fire ground problems. First, one created by high traffic on radio voice channels. Radio voice PAR check traffic creates congestion that competes with fire ground voice radio traffic. Our proprietary and patented Automated PAR check replaces the traditional manual PAR check performed on the radio voice channel. The Automated PAR check is now part of our affordable, Automated RF PASS Accountability System, designed to fit the operational needs of both large and small fire departments. Secondly, a standalone PASS or RF PASS solves the problem of limited protection given to only those fire fighters inside the hot zone with SCBA integrated PASS. As required by NFPA1500, now all fire personnel, both inside and outside the hot zone are protected by wearing a standalone SuperPASS®5, SuperPASS®5X, or TPASS®5 that does not require the use of SCBA.”
Since 1974, with close to a million PASS alarms sold, Grace Industries continues to be known as a pioneer in the development and manufacture of standalone firefighter PASS, as well as, a developer of “Solutions for Life Safety” within Industrial, Mining and Transportation markets in more than 31 countries. Grace offers a diverse suite of wireless RF Lone Worker personal safety products, as well as, visual alerting and audio alarm safety products.