Protecting the Bravest

By Joseph Straw

Both developers—WPI and TRX—are integrating physiological monitors with their systems. WPI has tested pulse sensors fixed to headbands that can measure a firefighter’s pulse rate, temperature, and blood oxygen content, displaying the readings alongside location dots on commanders’ computer displays.

TRX has teamed with monitor manufacturer Zephyr Technology. Zephyr’s monitors measure heart rate, respiration, skin temperature, and body orientation. Another partner, Globe Firefighter Suits, will integrate the monitor into garments.

The Zephyr monitors communicate via Bluetooth technology with wearers’ radios, transmitting data to a commander’s computer. Information on a user’s age, height, and weight can be used to set color-coded stress zones for each wearer with alarms, explains spokesman Asher Gendelman. The hope is that these systems will keep firefighters and their lives from being lost.



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