e14_1869.jpgThe Fire Department has been working with the US Naval Research Laboratory to develop transmitting chips for firefighter's gear that will allow electronic tracking of firefighters on the scene of a blaze. The chip would have to withstand the heat, smoke and water found while fighting a fire. It would be activated when a firefighter boards a truck to respond to a call.

Currently, firefighters sign in to a paper roster. Under that system, according to Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, "we've had periods of time when we didn't know immediately if a person was in or out of a building" because there's a lag between when someone came out of a building and roll call. Using the transmitting chip the firefighter would be accounted for by coming within proximity to a reader on any firetruck.

Eventually the FDNY hopes to track the movement of every firefighter in a burning building --they already have schematics for nearly all buildings in the city. Using the location devices firefighters on the scene could be warned of conditions from the FDNY Operations Center.

Engine 14's shiny new Steamer and Tender in Union Square, 1869, from the FDNY.