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Pittsburgh invests $3.1M on new firefighter SCBA

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire will be using the MSA G1, newly redesigned for comfort and ergonomics

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MSA Safety, Inc.

By Patrick Varine

PITTSBURGH — If a house catches fire in the Pittsburgh region, there’s a good chance equipment from MSA — and, specifically, from its Murrysville production facility — played a role in firefighters’ efforts.

For the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, MSA’s G1 self-contained breathing apparatus will be well worth the $3.1 million investment announced Wednesday in Murrysville.

“We listen to what firefighters have to say when we design the operation and functionality of our equipment,” said MSA Americas President Stephanie Sciullo. “The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has been instrumental in the development of new technologies at MSA over the years. The voice of the customer is something we take very seriously.”

The G1 breathing apparatus uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data including air pressure in the tank, battery status and alarm indicators to incident commanders through MSA’s FireGrid system. It is a software option that can give emergency response leaders the ability to evaluate and manage crews and multiple situations in real time.

The G1 model also includes upgrades, according to MSA spokesman Marc Stempka.

“Before, a lot of the electronics were in the face piece, and that made it much heavier,” Stempka said. “The ergonomics were also a big factor in how we redesigned it. We also have a lot of ways to customize it based on what a customer is looking for.”

From a comfort perspective, the G1’s design, combined with an adjustable waist belt and wide shoulder straps, allows its weight to be distributed more evenly on a firefighter’s hips.

G1 tanks intended for Pittsburgh firefighters are emblazoned with the bureau’s logo, and MSA officials expect to deliver their order by the end of the year.

The Murrysville facility, in operation since 1976, employs about 300 people, 100 of whom are part of the G1 production line.

“The G1 has more than 15 patents associated with it, and best of all, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has the ability to upgrade its technology as it evolves,” Murrysville plant manager Stephanie Shields said.

“In developing the G1 breathing apparatus, our vision was to create the most advanced and versatile firefighting platform available; one that continuously raises the bar when it comes to deploying new technologies that improve firefighter health and safety,” company CEO Nish Vartanian said.

Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones said the bureau looked at several companies to upgrade its equipment, and MSA “came out way ahead.”

“Thank you for keeping my people safe and for making my job easier,” Jones said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at or via Twitter .


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