Ranges are variable depending on several factors such as wall material, the number of wall bounces, and the number of doors. The Pathfinder™ system is designed to have a normal range of over 135 feet. This is a measurement of the total distance that the ultrasound travels. The system may have both longer and shorter ranges depending on conditions (the longest range measured was 305 feet). Since Pathfinder is an adaptive system - it bounces all around in order to determine the path - ranges will always be based on how the ultrasound travels.
Beacons and Trackers are made from high-temperature, impact-resistant, engineering-grade thermoplastics which are commonly used in SCBAs and TICs. The electronics of all the units are similar to those engineered for high temperature use, as in other PASS devices and TICs.
Exit Beacons, Auxiliary Beacons, and the Legacy Trackers use four 1.5-volt AA alkaline batteries. The Rit Tracker, Exit Tracker, and Sperian Panther Beacon use a standard 9-volt alkaline battery. The ISI Viking DXL and Z7 Beacons and the Sperian Warrior Beacon use the internal SCBA power source (depends on SCBA configuration). Please always carry extra batteries with your units.
Pushing the upper button on the front panel turns on the RIT Tracker. The unit immediately goes through a power-up sequence, turning on the LEDs and sounding the beeper. When it finishes, the top cluster of 3 red LEDs will be on, indicating the Tracker is in firefighter mode and is looking for Firefighter Beacons. The battery condition is displayed on the small LED bar graph in the middle.
When the Tracker picks up a signal from a firefighter Beacon, the strength of the signal is displayed on the main LED bar graph. The Tracker will also beep when the signal from a firefighter Beacon is picked up, with faster beeps indicating a stronger signal (like most radar detectors). By scanning a room with the Tracker – much like one would scan a room with a flashlight – and by going in the direction of the strongest signal, the path to the Beacon can be rapidly located.
By pushing the upper button for about 1 second, the cluster of 3 red LEDs will turn off and the next cluster down of 3 yellow LEDs will turn on, indicating the Tracker is now looking for Auxiliary Beacons. By pushing the upper button again for about 1 second, the next cluster of 3 green LEDs will turn on. The Tracker is now looking for Exit Beacons. By pushing the button a third time for about 1 second, the Tracker will return to firefighter mode indicating that it is back looking for firefighter Beacons. To turn off the Tracker, push the upper button for about 4 seconds.
The bottom button on the Tracker is a mute switch. Press the button once in order to toggle the beeper off. Press the button again to un-mute the sound. The red, side button is used for the signal flare. While the Tracker is ON, pressing this button will momentarily iluminate the six (6), high-intensity, smoke-cutting LEDs.
All Beacons have a grille surrounding the ultrasonic transducer, which leaves openings for the ultrasound to escape. All integrated Firefighter Beacons are designed (at a minimum) to be worn on a firefighter's back, near their SCBA tank. In this position, it is very hard to accidentally cover up. The Beacon will be exposed to the air even if the firefighter is on his back. As long as even a small opening is present, the ultrasound signal will be transmitted. Several integrated systems are designed with a third transmitter on the front of the firefighter for even better coverage.
If the firefighter goes into a room and closes the door behind him, as long as there is a small crack under the door, the ultrasound will still escape.
Even if a firefighter falls on the Beacon, the situation is considerably better than that of falling on a PASS device. If a firefighter falls on a PASS device, the sound level is reduced below that of the rest of the sounds of the fire, meaning you can’t hear the PASS device. The Beacon is a very loud ultrasound transmitter and the Tracker is a very sensitive receiver.
Any search and rescue personnel who might need to effect a rescue or be rescued themselves could use the system, including FEMA personnel, police department personnel, and military personnel.
All assembly and testing is conducted in the United States.