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JC Fire Dept. using new technology to keep firefighters safer

Emergency crews who keep the people of Jefferson City safe are using new technology to keep themselves safe while fighting fires.

When the alarm sounds, every second counts. And Interim Fire Chief Jason Turner says so does firefighter safety.

With new technology, commanders at the Jefferson City Fire Department can track exactly where each firefighter is inside a burning building.

But that’s not all.

“Being able to monitor their air usage, making sure that we can send messages back and forth to them in the event of a serious situation or evacuation, or even if a firefighter becomes lost or disoriented they can send that signal back to the incident commander outside,” Turner said.

There are different sounds emitted from the packs worn by firefighters for different situations.

If a pack on a firefighter has not moved for 30 seconds, it sends a sound, alerting that the firefighter may have become trapped.

And if a firefighter is low on oxygen, it sends out a different sound.

“One of the signals that we would send would be if the building was showing some signs of collapse or if there are signs that the fire condition is worsening, the commander can send a message to all the air packs he accepted inside that computer,” Turner said.

He said this new system enhances communication and safety.

“We rely on our radios a lot,” Turner said. “Some of the buildings here in the city, the radio is hard to transmit so it’s a good backup system that we have.”

The new packs are about seven pounds lighter than the ones that were used before. They also store fifteen more minutes of oxygen.

Turner said the packs cost about $6,500 a piece.

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