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Wearable Firefighter’s Light

LED technology is bringing a new paradigm to the possibilities of lighting.

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Case #1: Firefighter’s Safety Locating Light –

The problem

How to find a downed fire responder in a room filled so densely with smoke you can’t even see your hand in front of your face without expensive radio tracking equipment.  The device must be very tough and must be able to survive repeated exposures to 350F, crashes through walls and dousing in 2 feet of water.    And, after the fire, this device must stand up to solvent and detergent cleaning.

The solution

Develop an LED based signaling unit where all of the electronic components, including the LEDs were isolated in a sealed case.  To get the light out where it can do its job, GemLight® researched very high temperature plastics that still have sufficient transparency to be used as a light pipe.  We found a little known near optical grade material and developed an injection molded rod one end of which we mounted directly over a power LED.  We incorporated features in the surface of the rod which would redirect the LED light to the outside environment.   These “lighting rods” were further isolated inside transparent silicone rubber tubing which acted as a thermal and environmental barrier.

firefighter light review

specialty LED lighting review

I believe that the Smoke ID Light, which costs $139, made a considerable difference in our accountability of firefighters working on and around the fireground. Not only did it help identify what crews are on the fireground, but command could see them as well. Bottom line: Our crews had a very favorable response to the product.

Next, in order to maximize the “detection radius” (the maximum distance in a densely smoke filled room at which a rescuer will be able to visually detect the light coming from the lighting rod) we designed the drive electronics to produce a strobe type output.  LEDs can operate for very short periods of time at a level well above their maximum continuous duty power.  Therefore, strobing the LEDs was a logical operational choice both because it allowed us to produce a much brighter flash of light and at the same time greatly reduce the average power consumption of the overall lighting system making for extended battery life. We set the strobe repeat rate at once every second giving rescuers a potentially useful visual time clock. Finally, we successfully patented our design.

GemLight Technologies’ firefighter’s location signaling light (FLoSiL) was honored as finalist at LEDs Magazine 2016 Sapphire Awards