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Memphis Fire Department deploys new breathing apparatus technology

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PITTSBURGH — Global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety (NYSE: MSA) today announced the deployment of 750 state-of-the-art G1 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and integrated thermal imaging cameras to the Memphis (Tennessee) Fire Department (MFD). The contract was awarded to MSA in July and today’s deployment represents a significant shift in the department’s SCBA technology. It also makes Memphis the largest department in the U.S. to equip every firefighter with integrated thermal imaging technology.

“What this means for our firefighters is that they now have the latest in respiratory protection technology. This not only improves firefighter safety and performance, it also enhances our ability to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Gina Sweat, Director of the Memphis Fire Department.

The G1 breathing apparatus was developed by MSA based on feedback from thousands of firefighters over a five-year period. “As we were designing and building this new platform, our engineers relied heavily on what we heard from the market,” said Nish Vartanian, MSA President and Chief Executive Officer.” What resulted is the most technologically advanced, balanced and customizable breathing apparatus our company has ever developed, and we are incredibly honored that the Memphis Fire Department has entrusted MSA to help protect the men and women who help keep their citizens safe each and every day,” he continued.

The G1 SCBA platform represents the single largest new product development effort in MSA’s 104-year history. The breathing apparatus was introduced in 2014 and features 12 patents and 3 additional patents pending. Among its many innovative design features, one of the most significant is the elimination of all electronics from the SCBA facepiece, which provides firefighters with a nearly full and unobstructed field of vision. The facepiece design also enables improved voice amplification, and includes darkness- and smoke-piercing “buddy lights” that provide visible indicators of critical air-supply data and the whereabouts of fellow firefighters.

From a comfort perspective, the G1 SCBA’s unique ergonomic design, combined with an adjustable waist belt and wide shoulder straps, allows more SCBA weight to be carried on a firefighter’s hips. Collectively, these features make the SCBA more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. Additionally, the G1 SCBA includes a “Central Power” feature that powers the entire unit from a single, rechargeable battery compartment, eliminating the need for additional batteries.

Also available on the G1 SCBA is an optional integrated thermal imaging camera (iTIC) that’s built right into the G1 SCBA’s control module and puts thermal imaging capabilities into the hands of every firefighter. According to Director Sweat, this is one of the main factors that attracted the MFD to the G1 SCBA platform. “In addition to being cost effective, incorporating this technology into a firefighter’s SCBA eliminates the need to carry an additional piece of equipment,” she said.

In developing the G1 SCBA, MSA’s vision was to create the most advanced and versatile SCBA platform available today; one that allows firefighters to add new technology as soon as it becomes available, Mr. Vartanian explained.

“This is a mindset we deploy in all of our product development efforts. So whether it’s firefighter helmets, turnout gear or breathing apparatus, our vision for the fire service is to continuously raise the bar when it comes to deploying technology that improves firefighter health and safety,” he concluded.

About MSA
Established in 1914, MSA Safety Incorporated is the global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructures. Many MSA products integrate a combination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials to protect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations. The company’s comprehensive product line is used by workers around the world in a broad range of markets, including the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, the fire service, the construction industry, mining and the military. MSA’s core products include self-contained breathing apparatus, fixed gas and flame detection systems, portable gas detection instruments, industrial head protection products, firefighter protective apparel and helmets, and fall protection devices. With 2017 revenues of $1.2 billion, MSA employs approximately 4,700 people worldwide. The company is headquartered north of Pittsburgh in Cranberry Township, Pa., and has manufacturing operations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. With more than 40 international locations, MSA realizes approximately half of its revenue from outside North America. For more information visit MSA’s web site at