Effectively When Seconds Count
scenario: it's the middle of the night and you're a member of
a fire department that's been summoned to a big, ugly four-alarmer--a
building burning out of control. While several firemen with high-pressure
hoses encircle the building, trying with every fiber of their
being to bring the monster down, you are among those whose command
is to go in and rescue the unfortunate people who didn't get out
in time. They're trapped on the second floor and you have the
awesome responsibility of getting them out safely and quickly,
but most important, alive.
you remind yourself as the ladder goes up and you go in. Almost
immediately the heat from the flames is blasting you as you charge
forward. The smoke is dense, black and thick and you can't see
a thing. Teamwork is the only thing that's going to make this
rescue work. But how do you work as a team when you can't see
or hear your teammates?
few situations more desperate than a group of firefighters groping
their way through a thick wall of smoke and trying to keep track
of one another when human lives hang in the balance. The ability
to communicate with their counterparts and with the base of operations
is not only important--it's crucial to doing the job.
the need to increase safety and productivity, MSA developed the
Ultra Elite ESP Communications System, a one-piece voice projection
device used on MSA air masks that enables firefighters to speak
normally, yet be heard loudly and clearly under the most noisy
and adverse conditions.
unit, which offers the option of hands-free, or, if preferred,
push-to-talk operation, is compatible with fire departments' existing
handheld radios, and is powered by an easy-to-install, standard
nine-volt alkaline battery which provides up to 18 hours of worry-free
communication. The unit is as comfortable to wear as it is easy
to use, and is incredibly rugged, resistant to water, flame, heat,
and impact. And it offers 90 percent visibility.
is always an issue when you go into a burning building," says
a veteran firefighter. We sometimes go from one end of a building
to another to get the victims, who are scared and often panicking,
and we often can't see where we're going. We have to be able to
communicate with each other under whatever conditions we encounter.
We don't have the time to be worried about our equipment. It just
has to do what we need it to do.
conditions firefighters work under to those experienced by such
other mission-oriented teams as astronauts in outer space, and
military units like Navy SEALS and fighter pilots. The comparisons
aren't far-fetched when you consider that, in all cases, clear,
effective communication is always of the highest priority when
it comes to successful completion of the mission.
teams, firefighters need to have every assurance that they will
be able to speak to each other and hear each other at all times
while the fire is raging and the situation continues to grow increasingly
chaotic. Communicators like the Ultra Elite ESP provide the technology
that allows firefighters to stay in touch when they need it most,
with no distortion, feedback, interference, or loss of signal.
The unit was
developed by MSA with the help of firefighters across the country,
who provided valuable consultation regarding what features they
demanded and considered most important. The versatile unit is
easy to install into the firefighter's face piece--even with gloves--and
can be moved from one face piece to another in a snap. Because
of its resistance to water, it can also be worn during decontamination
or while showering down.
to Writing Samples
Copyright © 2003 by John Fries, Pittsburgh, PA.
Please direct all correspondence to JohnFries@aol.com.