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Phoenix fire, Honeywell create locating device for firefighters

A mayday call. The call no firefighter wants to make or hear.

Honeywell’s Claire Miller said they have developed a device called the GLANSER, a device that could someday be standard issue for all firefighters.

“It’s designed to navigate airplanes and now it will navigate firefighters. The firefighters each wear a unit that communicates with each other and to commanders in the fire trucks.”

The device weighs eight pounds. It’s about the size of a loaf of bread. Phoenix Fire Captain Jeff Schripsema was among the first to put the device through its paces.

“We have no way of adequately knowing sometimes where we are at in a burning building. GPS doesn’t work. This will allow command officers to track exactly where we are.”

Brett Tarver was a Phoenix firefighter who died during a fire inside of a burning supermarket 12 years ago. He became lost in the heavy smoke and fire.

Phoenix Fire Battalion Chief Shelly Jamison has no doubt that Tarver would still be alive if the Honeywell device would have been part of the technology in 2001.

“We encountered him two to three times after he got lost. He announced he was lost and called a mayday. Crews found him but he was disoriented and turned away,” she said. “In the end, you’re sending other crews in to save him so it becomes even more dangerous. To have a layer of safety in place like the GLANSER can’t be beat.

There’s no timetable on when firefighters will be using the device on a permanent basis.

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