Modular system enhances safety
Published: 11 May, 2009
The alpha Personal Network is a system of modular and wireless components designed by MSA. Whether the aim is to just monitor pressure status and motion alarm or if the full extension with telemetry and evacuation notification is required, it can be individually integrated to enhance fire service operation safety and capability as needed.
The newest system component is the wireless Head-Up-Display alphaHUD, which is easily attached to the inside of an Ultra Elite mask. It provides pressure status, alarm information on low battery, pressure and evacuation at the edge of field of vision – hands free.
In order to ensure a constant, non-distracting readability the LEDs glow for two seconds and then gradually dim for eight seconds before glowing again. They adjust automatically to ambient lighting conditions. A blinking alarm signal called “buddy light” is also visible externally when air pressure drops to a dangerous level.
The heart of the alpha PN system is alphaSCOUT, the wireless personal monitoring and signal device. It monitors and displays pressure, motion, remaining service time and battery status. alphaSCOUT can be enhanced with telemetric capability in order to send and receive powerful long-range signals. The alphaSCOUT can be personalized by the alphaTAG identification tag, saving name, team or vehicle details.
Every second, alphaSCOUT or alphaHUD receive air pressure data from alphaMITTER, the transmitter located on the breathing apparatus backplate. Since alphaHUD and alphaSCOUT are not connected to a specific SCBA, units can be shared, which results in significant investment savings for the fire brigade.
MSA’s own and unique alphaCONTROL monitoring software runs automatically without operator intervention. Complete incident data is automatically logged and analysed. One of the new features include centralised monitoring of multiple alphaBASEs linked via wireless LAN. Even without telemetry, the alphaCONTROL software can as well be used as a substitute for conventional tally boards.
For the base station it is possible to choose between two receivers. alphaBASE is the standard receiver which works in combination with any PC. A battery-powered version of the alphaBASE can be attached to the robust xplore TABLET PC to form a completely mobile base station for SCBA monitoring.