Firefighter Tracker to be Unveiled

Scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute will host a public demonstration of a device aimed at locating first responders lost or trapped in a burning building, reports The Boston Globe.

The Geospatial Location Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders, or GLANSER, is a black box designed to track every movement a firefighter makes, and broadcast that data to a command post. If a firefighter carrying the system becomes lost or trapped, commanders could direct colleagues to that person’s exact location.

The US Department of Homeland Security financed the development of GLANSER, and three companies joined forces to build it: Honeywell First Responder Products of Dayton, Ohio; Argon ST of Fairfax, Va.; and TRX Systems Inc. of Greenbelt, Md. After three years of development, Homeland Security officials believe it has “progressed well enough that this is the first year they’re going to show this to a public audience,” said WPI associate professor James Duckworth.

The system has already performed well in field tests with the North Las Vegas Fire Department, according to Jalal Mapar, a program manager for Homeland Security’s science and technology directorate. “GLANSER is the solution that works right now,” he said, adding that it will probably be several years before it is ready for widespread deployment.

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