FDIC International 2021 Review: Despite August heat, show triumphs amid lingering pandemic
Returning to Indianapolis for the first time since 2019, FDIC International 2021 offered a full range of lecture sessions, hands-on training and equipment exhibits. Attendance was down, but everyone seemed happy to be back at the show, after cancellations and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Compliance with masking was low, despite lingering concerns about COVID-19 and the Delta variant. There was little social distancing. In many ways, the show seemed to be back to normal. The highlight of the event was the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) 9/11 Stair Climb. It is a way for participants to honor and remember members of the firefighting community, who gave their lives in the tragedy of September 11. Hundreds of FDIC participants paid their respects by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 floors of the World Trade Center. MSA’s LUNAR Handheld Device on Display As always, safety was a major theme at FDIC, including the development of handheld tools. MSA Safety introduced the new LUNAR handheld device that keeps fire crews connected, combining direction and distance information with thermal imaging to help find separated teammates and reduce response time. LUNAR uses cloud technology to increase fire scene management capabilities for incident commanders. LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or as part of an MSA SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) system. Thermal imaging with edge detection identifies hot spots and ventilation points, to simplify navigation in low visibility environments. Tethered drone and thermal camera Reveal FirePRO X FotoKite (Perspective Robotics AG), which has a joint development agreement with MSA Safety, featured a tethered drone that flies over the site of an emergency, in order to provide networking capabilities via the cable for better connectivity. Seek Thermal offers the “smallest, lightest” thermal camera, available for US $ 799, and seeks to bring the benefits of thermal technology to every position of the fire crew. The Reveal FirePRO X can now be charged using a four station charging station for US $ 399. The compact size makes the FirePRO X easy to transport and manage, while its high resolution and fast frame rate ensure superior images. Teledyne gas detection systems on display Teledyne showcased a range of gas detection systems, starting with the simple Protégé ZM carbon monoxide meter that can clip onto pockets, helmets and EMS bags. A new product is the gas laser, a hand-held device that can quickly scan common ventilation points from a safe distance to identify the presence of hazardous explosive gas. Teledyne recently acquired FLIR and the combined companies will supply a range of imaging technologies and products from X-ray to infrared and components to complete imaging systems. FDIC International’s innovation hub focused on new technologies for firefighters The initiative was SafeTech, a nonprofit organization based in College Station, Texas, whose mission is to bring new technologies to first responders and to the armed forces. One featured company was Tracks North America, which provides unmanned vehicles with forklift capabilities. Another was Infysort, which makes superabsorbent pellets – a “hyperblown polypropylene absorbent nanomaterial” that can absorb 50 to 60 times its weight in oil. The Hale Products HURST Jaws of Life SAM control system demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater extrication tool. and unload using a touch screen for a simplified interface. The new SAM Smart Nozzle allows firefighters to control the flow from the end of the fire hose. HURST Jaws of Life introduced eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater extrication tool capable of withstanding salt water. The Lifeline fire hose provides a continuous source of breathing air from the nozzle of a fire hose. The patented coupler design allows for a continuous air supply, which can also be used to supply air tools. Seeking to help small and medium-sized fire departments replace paper documentation, incident management systems offer low cost digitization. De Rosenbauer Environmental Awareness One topic among fire apparatus companies is idle reduction systems designed to shut down the main engine of a fire apparatus when not needed, eliminating noise and diesel engine exhaust, while maintaining power for lighting and air conditioning, for example. This is a reflection of the growing environmental concerns of fire manufacturers. For example, Rosenbauer’s Green Star system facilitates idle reduction, using electronic controls to shut down the chassis engine on-site (if the fire pump is not engaged or if no aircraft operations are in progress) , and starting a Diesel Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Pierce Volterra Zero Emission Pumps First Pierce Volterra Zero Emission Pumps Commissioned at Madison Pierce has launched its Volterra electric vehicle platform. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emission pump has been commissioned in Madison, Wisconsin. At FDIC International 2021, the Pierce booth featured an electric vehicle technology booth and introduced attendees to the attributes of the electric fire truck. CMC Rescue Rope and Harness Systems CMC Rescue Inc. has demonstrated rope and harness systems for rescue operations, including special sports bags and access bags to facilitate carrying the harnesses. The CMC clutch is now available in 13mm and 11mm models, for hoisting, lowering, raising, lowering, belaying and deploying dual tension rope systems. The 10ft CMC Triskelion Tripod deploys quickly, for example, over a hole where a rescue is taking place and is certified to meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.