Health & Safety
Few realize that from the time the alarm sounds in the station house until the call clears [and the dispatch is completed] heart rates soar to astonishing levels that may be sustained for more than an hour. Studies show that within 15 seconds after an alarm sounds, heart rates soar 61 beats per minute on average.  While resting, our heart beats about 60 to 70 times each minute. Therefore, the heart rate nearly doubles within 15 seconds of an alarm.” Garrett Law. Hearts Afire. Kinder Alarm Systems & Physical Conditions May Defuse The Heart Attack Bomb Among Firefighters, Fire Rescue Magazine, April 2000.
Click here below to read articles from the New England Journal of Medicine
NIOSH Publication No. 2007-133:
Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events

The Nature Of The Job

Year after year, the United States Fire Administration reports that “heart attacks continue to be the leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters.” U.S. Fire Administration. Heart Attacks Leading Cause Of Death For Firefighters, Fire Chief Magazine, October 2002. The NFPA states that “heart attacks due to stress and overexertion are the leading cause of fatal injury and usually account for close to half of total deaths.” Rita F. Fahy and Paul R. LeBlanc, Firefighter Fatalities In The United States 2003, NFPA Journal, July/August 2004. While the rigors of fighting fires, victim extrication, swift water and structural collapse rescues are for the most part obvious, the stress of receiving alerts in the fire station is not so apparent.

Years of shocking alarms and bright lights in the middle of the night takes its toll on the human body.

 

There Is A Difference

There is a difference between being awakened for a call and being scared to death. As the leader in fire station alerting, Westnet, Inc. has proven that technology can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for fire personnel and the public they serve. Westnet’s First-In Fire Station Alerting System is the first turnkey solution engineered for firefighters to reduce response time and firefighter stress. First-In’s patented technology uses Cardiac Kind ramped tones and a human voice pre-announcement to awaken firefighters. First-In Knight Vision Lighting provides low intensity red light to illuminate dormitories and exit corridors, reducing the cardiac and optical stress of night calls.

Loud Tones Are No Longer Needed to Alert Fire and EMS Crews.

 

Stress Reduction

Deafening bells used to alert many fire stations are no longer needed to signal an emergency call.   The MCU uses Cardiac Kind tones, which precede the pre-announcement.   The tones and the pre-announcement are automatically adjusted in volume for daytime and nighttime.   In the morning, the MCU tone and pre-announcement audio levels increase, as ambient noise in the station is higher during the day.   In the evening, when station noise is quieter, the MCU automatically decreases its volume levels.   The result is that the MCU awakens firefighters without the extreme stress that startling or ear-piercing tones can produce.