Vorbeck’s body-worn communications system was designed with the help of HazMat teams who trialled the system in real-world training exercises. Their efforts to provide valuable feedback enabled Vorbeck to develop a high-performance communications package that is ergonomically suited to work with all the gear firefighters are expected to wear. The HD4 harness fits comfortably under an SCBA apparatus, over a HazMat B-Suit and under a HazMat A-Suit.
The HD4’s outer surface is constructed of NFPA 1994 certified material, and all electrical connections are waterproof. This allows the entire unit to be immersed in water or standard cleaning chemicals to decontaminate the HD4 after every use.
The harness’s built-in mesh radio automatically forms a secure self-healing network with other HD4 harnesses and Drop Nodes. This meshing capability enables ad-hoc networks of HD4 harnesses and Drop Nodes to connect team members to Incident Command from environments that normally have no RF signal, such as tunnels, skyscrapers or basements. It has the bandwidth to carry real-time high-quality streaming video, audio and data throughout the network. And since each harness and node are also Wi-Fi hotspots, any team member with a mobile device can view any other team member’s video feed to enhance situational awareness, efficiency and safety to improve mission outcomes.
With a secure internet connection at Incident Command, the live stream can be shared with anyone, anywhere, thereby providing unprecedented real-time remote monitoring of a situation. Now the firefighters or rescue workers in the hot zone can not only have reliable comms, they can have a subject matter expert watching what they see and advising them in real time.
The HD4 audio system has two modes: standard push-to-talk and open-mic. The wearer can easily change from standard push-to-talk to hands-free open mic with a quick double tap of the button and back to push-to-talk with a single touch. The audio option is controlled individually by each wearer.
The ND4 Drop Node incorporates the same mesh radio as the HD4 harness mounted on a lightweight rapid-deploy stand. The Drop Node includes a Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) camera that can be remotely controlled by smartphone (Android App) or computer. As a mesh radio, the Drop Node can be deployed to extend the range of the team’s mesh network. The node can also serve as a watchman, remaining on station without concerns of consuming an SCBA or exposing an individual to a hazardous environment. The Recon/Entry team can enter the incident area, place the node in the Hot Zone and return to Incident Command where the situation may be observed safely, allowing an action plan to be developed without unnecessary time constraints.
Both the HD4 Harness and ND4 Drop Node have a field swappable Li-ion battery that provides 8–10 hours of operation.
For more information, go to www.vorbeck.com