Pathfinder™ is the system of the Beacon and Tracker, and Pulse™ is the technology behind the system. When Summit Safety and Survivair teamed up together in early 2004, it was decided that the name Pathfinder™ better described the unique path-finding capabilities of an ultrasound approach. Since then, Pulse™ technology has become fully integrated into some SCBA's, and a whole new development program was launched to integrate the technology into other firefighting equipment. Pulse™, which stands for Personnel Ultrasonic Locating Safety Equipment, is still the fundamental technology that drives the Pathfinder™ system.
Ultrasound does not penetrate a solid wall. However, the Tracker can "see" around corners and behind obstacles because the signal is reflected by walls and other solid surfaces. When the Tracker detects a Beaconís signal, it indicates that there is a path that can be followed back to the Beacon. Thus the Pathfinder system will not lead a rescuer down a blind alley to a wall where time-consuming breaching will be necessary, or even impossible.
A Firefighter Beacon is designed specifically for firefighters. In order to make Pathfinder™ Mutual Aid capable, Firefighter Beacons all need to transmit on a specific frequency or channel. In an emergency, a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) would only want to find the firefighter who is in trouble. By combining ALL Firefighter Beacons with the PASS Device, we found a good method to know when to transmit the emergency Beacon signal. When the PASS alarms, the Beacon alarms. The Exit and Auxiliary Beacons are simple "ON/OFF" devices.
Yes and no. Only a Firefighter Beacon in "alarm" mode will be transmitting ultrasound. All other types of Beacons are designed to transmit ultrasound continuously.
No. All firefighter Beacons operate at the same ultrasonic frequency. Only a Firefighter Beacon in "alarm" mode will be actively transmitting an ultrasonic homing signal. This is what allows all Trackers to be Mutual Aid compatible with other fire departments.
Two and three. The RIT Tracker and Legacy Tracker are designed to detect the following: Firefighter Beacons, Exit Beacons, and Auxiliary Beacons. The Exit Tracker is designed to locate only Exit Beacons and Auxiliary Beacons. Firefighter Beacons are used by firefighters. Exit Beacons are designed to mark the location of an exit, allowing firefighters to find the quickest path there. The Auxiliary Beacon frequency is used for different purposes. In the future, Beacons will be designed to help firefighters find where children, and even pets, are hiding inside a structure. For wide-area fires and searches, such as large department stores or warehouses, Auxiliary Exit Beacons can be used to leave "breadcrumbs" back to the exit.
Yes. All Beacons are designed to operate on one of the three frequencies described in Question 24. All Summit Safety Trackers are designed so that they can receive all three frequencies. Forward and backward compatibility has been and always will be designed into all Pathfinder™ products.
Think of a large-area fire in a department store. One search team went into the building and left a trail of Exit Beacons behind them in order to find their way back out. Now some firefighters from a second search team are near the exit to the building, but are detecting Exit Beacons at both the exit and farther into the building? Where do THEY go? If the first team placed Exit Beacons at only the exits, and Auxiliary Beacons on a different frequency at all of the "internal" locations, then the second team now knows EXACTLY which way to go.
This situation is very similar to following a hose out of a structure. When you find the hose, try to figure out which is the male coupling and follow it to the pumper. Sometimes this is hard to do and you wind up finding the nozzle. It would greatly speed up the process if you could "find the male coupling" for the Exit Beacon. Well you CAN when you put only Exit Beacons at the actual exit points.
We recommend that there should be one Beacon for every firefighter who might need to be rescued. If a fire department chooses an integrated style of Firefighter Beacon, the recomended number would be the number of SCBA units. If a department is looking at the Stand-Alone Firefighter Beacon, the recommended number would be the number of firefighters in the Department.
It is recommended that fire departments employ one RIT Tracker for every piece of apparatus (Engine, Truck, etc.) in order to ensure coverage for first-due units. Obviously, the correct number of units depends on department 's procedures and protocals, however, a sufficient number of Trackers should be on-scene at any given time. It is recommeded that at least 1 RIT Tracker be present for every 7 firefighters (1:7). If the department chooses to employ Exit Trackers, every team entering the structure should have at least one. Assuming the average "attack" team consists of 3 firefighters, it is recommended that 1 Exit Tracker be present for every 3 firefighters (1:3). In addition, at least one Exit Beacon should be kept with each Tracker so that there is a method to distinguish an exit. Auxiliary Beacons are optional, and numbers would vary on the department's preferences.