Breakthrough technology for firefighter search and rescue

Global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety Incorporated has announced the availability of LUNAR, a new multi-purpose search and rescue device.

Resulting from years of working directly with firefighters, LUNAR uses cloud technology to deliver breakthrough fire-scene management capabilities for incident commanders. According to Nish Vartanian, MSA Chairman, President and CEO, the introduction of LUNAR delivers on the company’s vision of being a leader in introducing new-to-world technology that protects lives.

“We’ve always viewed LUNAR, and its many potential applications, as a major leap forward and game-changer when it comes to enhancing firefighter safety,” said Mr Vartanian. “Based on firefighter feedback that our team gained through months of LUNAR testing and evaluations with hundreds of firefighters around the world, we believe LUNAR has genuine potential to change the way fires are fought.”

Mr Vartanian added that LUNAR is a great example of how MSA has continued to invest in R&D and technology to advance its vision to protect firefighters from head to toe.

He said, “We understand our customers at a deep level. We listen, watch and learn from them. With this knowledge, we then look for ways to use new and advanced technology to help keep them safe, solve their problems and simplify their day.”

Versatile in design, LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or as part of an MSA SCBA system. Key features include: exclusive Firefighting Assisting Search Technology (FAST), which combines distance and direction data enabling firefighters to locate separated teammates faster, when every second counts; personal thermal imaging enhanced with edge detection for improved situational awareness; direct cellular cloud connectivity to send real-time stats, including estimated air pressure, time remaining, and battery life, to Incident Command and remote monitoring personnel for a complete safety point-of-view; and a unique LUNAR-to-LUNAR network that automatically keeps each device connected to all others on-scene.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there has been a 35% increase in Mayday calls during the COVID pandemic, with more than 40% of Mayday calls never making it to Rescue Teams due to radio communication challenges. Jason Traynor, MSA’s General Manager of Global Fire Service Products says that LUNAR will help alleviate that burden.

“The ability to stay connected to your team can make all the difference during a rescue mission,” said Mr Traynor. “To be prepared for a day that is more unpredictable than ever, firefighters need advanced tools that can help connect those who are on and off scene, and support the safety of the entire team with accountability, technology, and data-driven insights. LUNAR will do that and more.”

LUNAR is designed for every firefighter on scene, both those on air and off, and represents the latest addition to a suite – or ecosystem – of MSA products the company has branded as ‘Connected Firefighter’. When used together, MSA’s suite of Connected Firefighter products create greater visibility, increase efficiency, promote situational awareness, and enable accountability, all while creating an enhanced network of safety.

“Accounting for all firefighters on a fire ground has been a consistent need expressed by the fire service profession, but it’s also been a challenge for many manufacturers to solve,” said Mr Traynor. “When we looked at what we could do to enhance firefighter safety, we used a holistic approach to build a connected ecosystem of products where the sum of the individual components is the key to keeping firefighters better connected – and safer – than ever before.”

Other products comprising MSA’s Connected Firefighter platform include: the company’s industry-leading G1 and M1 SCBA; the MSA HUB, a small, modular device that enables on scene data and asset management; FireGrid, which gives incident commanders the ability to evaluate and manage multiple situations at one time from any location; and the company’s ALTAIR 4XR and 5X portable multi-gas detectors with embedded Bluetooth technology to provide complete scene management.

Live virtual demos

Despite the ongoing global pandemic, LUNAR has already generated high interest and demand from across the globe. To respond to this growing need, the company has also announced the launch of a live, virtual demo experience that will allow firefighters to learn more about LUNAR from the comfort of their own fire station, at a time that works best for them.

The launch of this immersive, online experience is another example of the company’s ongoing investment in a go-to-market strategy that delivers a unique experience in a way today’s customer expects. “As we continue to deliver on our mission of protecting people at work, I feel we are uniquely positioned to exceed the expectations of those who put their trust in the MSA brand and do so in a way they’ve come to expect from MSA – with speed, agility and customer- driven innovation,” concluded Mr Vartanian.