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Phoenix fire, Honeywell create locating device for firefighters

The GLANSER device, created through a cooperation between Phoenix fire and Honeywell, is shown on the back of a firefighter. (KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

A mayday call. The call no firefighter wants to make or hear.

Honeywell's Claire Miller said they have developed a device called the GLANSER, a device that could someday be standard issue for all firefighters.

"It's designed to navigate airplanes and now it will navigate firefighters. The firefighters each wear a unit that communicates with each other and to commanders in the fire trucks."

The device weighs eight pounds. It's about the size of a loaf of bread. Phoenix Fire Captain Jeff Schripsema was among the first to put the device through its paces.

"We have no way of adequately knowing sometimes where we are at in a burning building. GPS doesn't work. This will allow command officers to track exactly where we are."

Brett Tarver was a Phoenix firefighter who died during a fire inside of a burning supermarket 12 years ago. He became lost in the heavy smoke and fire.

Phoenix Fire Battalion Chief Shelly Jamison has no doubt that Tarver would still be alive if the Honeywell device would have been part of the technology in 2001.

"We encountered him two to three times after he got lost. He announced he was lost and called a mayday. Crews found him but he was disoriented and turned away," she said. "In the end, you're sending other crews in to save him so it becomes even more dangerous. To have a layer of safety in place like the GLANSER can't be beat.

There's no timetable on when firefighters will be using the device on a permanent basis.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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