PASS Alarms

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					  FIREFIGHTER HEALTH & SAFETY                                                                   >>>
  By PETER J. FINLEY Jr.                                                                             Personal alert safety system (PASS) devices were
                                                                                                        developed to protect firefighters from potentially
                                                                                                         life-threatening events that can occur on the
                                                                                                           fireground, but complacency often results in
                                                                                                             an ignored or inappropriate response to an
                                                                                                             activated PASS device.

                                                                                                                                                             Scott Langille
                                                                                                               nyone who has been in the fire
                                                                                                               service for more than a few
                                                                                                               months has probably, at some
Are They Becoming the Fire Service’s                                                                           point in time, been involved in
Automatic Alarm Systems?                                                               a fire station discussion about automatic fire alarms,
                                                                                       and in many cases, the public’s lack of appropriate
 PETER J. FINLEY Jr. is a 30-year veteran of      response to them. We have all pulled up in front of a commercial building on an auto-
 the fire and emergency services. He recently
 retired as chief of department for the Winslow   matic fire alarm system activation response to find people still entering the building and
 Township, NJ, Fire Department. Prior to that,
 he served for more than 20 years with the City   business being conducted as usual. Or, how about pulling up to a high-rise multi-family
 of Vineland, NJ, Fire Department, including 4½
 years as chief of department, and six years with apartment building with activated strobes visible in the elevator lobbies and faces peering
 the Fairfax County, VA, Fire and Rescue Depart-
 ment. Finley has an associate’s degree in fire   out of upper-story windows watching the fire trucks pull in?
 control technology from Atlantic Community
 College and a bachelor’s degree in fire science/       Studies of some large loss-of-life fires have shown that ignoring fire alarms, or inappropri-
 administration from the University of Maryland.    ate responses to 
Description: In addition to sounding an alarm for the circumstances mentioned above, the newer PASS devices also sound an alarm for low air. Most PASS devices have a prealarm feature that activates for a few seconds prior to full alarm activation to alert the wearers and let them manually reset the alarm if there is not a problem. There are also specific procedures to be followed to deactivate the PASS device when the SCBA is not being utilized or is being returned to service.
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