Free ‘Firefighter Down’ Alarm Update for MSA G1 SCBA (Learn More)

Global safety equipment manufacturer MSA is making it easy and cost effective to firefighters to equip their G1 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with a new PASS alarm sound pattern designed to help firefighters locate a downed partner more quickly.

The new alarm, developed in response to a Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is designed to be heard well above the din of sirens, engines, rushing water, and other sounds that are common on a fire ground.

The TIA calls for all manufacturers of Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices, including both stand-alone units and those integrated into an SCBA’s electronics, to implement a new universal PASS alarm sound in any device manufactured after December 21, 2016.

This action is necessary for PASS units to be certified as compliant with the amended NFPA 1982, 2013 Edition standard for PASS devices.

As a matter of background, a PASS device sounds an audible alarm when it detects a lack of firefighter movement.

It can also be manually activated by a firefighter to signal distress.

(Learn More. The MSA G1 SCBA Integrated TIC uses a single, rechargeable power source and a large, crystal-clear screen. Courtesy of MSA and YouTube)

The new universal PASS alarm tone is designed to be more recognizable to the ear, aid in determining the direction of the sound, and be heard over the traditional noises common on a fire ground, ultimately improving the response time to locate a downed firefighter.

Effective December 21, 2016, all new SCBA shipped from MSA will feature the new sound pattern.  While this new interim NFPA requirement TIA does not impact the certification of SCBA units currently in use, MSA officials say the new tone pattern will enhance firefighter safety and, for this reason, strongly recommends taking advantage of the update.

To encourage this action, the company is making the new PASS alarm update available free of charge to current G1 SCBA customers through a simple software update.

Anne Herman, MSA Vice President
Anne Herman, MSA Vice President

“The G1 SCBA was developed with the promise of providing firefighters with the latest technology, as soon as it becomes available, to help protect them when lives are on the line,” said Anne Herman, MSA Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.

“Providing this new sound pattern through a simple software update is a great example of the kind of adaptability and versatility we envisioned when we designed the G1.  It’s also representative of the potential a platform of this nature can bring to the fire service.”

Introduced in 2014, the G1 SCBA represents the largest new product development effort in the company’s 102-year history and is the most technologically advanced, streamlined, balanced, and customizable SCBA MSA has ever produced.

(The MSA G1 SCBA is designed with technology to drive firefighting into the future. Courtesy of MSA and YouTube)

With six patents issued and eight patents pending, the G1 SCBA includes several ground-breaking features, including:

  • the elimination of all electronic components from the facepiece
  • darkness- and smoke-piercing “buddy lights” that provide visible indicators of critical air supply data from any angle
  • improved voice amplification communications, all of which come standard on every MSA G1 SCBA
  • a “Central Power” unit that powers the entire SCBA from a single, rechargeable battery compartment, and
  • an integrated Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC), that is actually part of the SCBA itself

Introduced as a concept just one year ago, MSA’s integrated TIC has since been submitted for regulatory approval and is now available for pre-order.

An industry first, the G1 Integrated TIC now makes the concept of personal thermal imaging a reality.


Established in 1914, MSA Safety 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, fire and rescue helmets, and fall protection devices.