Firefighting is dangerous work, and the danger increases exponentially in the dark. Having a ladder that is capable of illuminating itself and the immediate area is a game changer for the Fire Service. Ladders with our lights will be able to illuminate the foundation, exterior walls and windows improving firefighter safety and giving Incident Commanders vastly improved domain awareness at night.
Problem solving/life saving is our life’s work. The mission of Finegan & Creed is to use ideas created by firefighters solving their own problems, and to take those products to market. Our first product is a patented illumination retrofit kit that is specifically designed to be attached to the ground ladders that firefighters already use.
We are at this point because industry wouldn't listen to us. We made repeated calls to the manufacturers of lights and ladders, and never got more than an answering machine.
Based on feedback from firefighters, the lights illuminate downward to make it possible for firefighters and civilians who are being rescued or are descending the ladder to do it safely and do not have a light shined up into their faces. The light output has been carefully tuned to minimize blanching-out your night-adapted vision. This improves the safety of those working on and under the ladder.
Our lighting kit adds functionality to a tool you already carry. It doesn’t matter if you need portable scene lighting for auto extrications, or you need to light up a casualty collection area. Our lighting kit can be used for lighting for confined spaces and trench rescues. Drop four ladders on the edge of a field and you have just demarcated a helicopter landing zone. The uses are limited by your imagination and operational requirements.
Given the “failure is not an option” nature of our work, the battery pack and electronic components of our kits will received third party validation testing by UL. Every piece of this system has been meticulously designed to meet or exceed all relevant standards. Our kits are designed to be compliant with the current NFPA standards and will not interfere with operation of the ladder, and does not permanently or temporarily alter the structure or structural integrity of the ladder or its component parts.
According to the NFPA’s Fire Research and Analysis Division, 11% of all firefighter injuries are the result of falls. 18% of the Severe Injuries are a result of falls, and the number peaks in January when the nights are longest. We are working with the NFPA Technical Coordinating Committee to update the 2020 edition of the NFPA 1931 standard to integrate all ladder accessories including our patent pending illumination kits.
Our Patented illumination kits help firefighters accomplish their mission “to save lives and protect property” and they improve fireground safety They have been designed to work on NFPA certified ladders. The retrofit kit does not alter the structural integrity of ladder and does not affect the NFPA certification.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge to our project has been boot-strapping a product that can meet the "failure isn't option" requirements of the Fire Service. We have five years of hard work under our belts and have made tremendous progress. At this point, our biggest challenge is raising $145,000 to get tooling made and the product through the applicable tests.
Our illumination retrofit kits will be built to the highest standards and will undergo extremely rigorous tests to meet/exceed the following specifications.
-US Patent (USPTO Pending Serial Number 15/016,648 with Notice of Allowance granted in July of 2018.)
-Components tested to NIST Thermal Class (I, II, III)
-Custom designed machined housings using an aluminum alloy (6000 series- aircraft/military grade) for optimal LED heatsink and to prevent electrolytic reaction with ladder.
-State of the art Cree X Lamp LEDs
-FCC EMC/RF compliant (Title 47 CFR Part 15)
-Custom 3100 mAh 20V Rechargeable Battery Pack using the most durable Lithium Polymer (LiFePO4) cells that have been previously tested by Sandia National Labs for nail penetration, over-discharge, thermal stability, extreme short and crush tests.
-Compliant & compatible with NFPA 1931 & 1932 Ground Ladder Standards
-Tested to applicable parts of the MIL STD 810-G & IEC standard 60529 IP-67
-System tested to following UL Standards:
-UL 2054 Standard for Household and Commercial Batteries
-UL 1642 Standard for Lithium Batteries
-UL 2108 Standard for Low Voltage Systems
-UL 8750 Standard for Light Emitting Diode (LED) Equipment.
Each retrofit kit contains two circuits and two battery packs. Each circuit is designed to power one ladder segment and contains a base for the rechargeable battery with integrated drive circuit and three position switch, a string of five Cree LEDs mounted in custom housings using machined military-grade aluminum alloy.
The Cree XLamp LEDs can deliver 1000 lumens with 100 lumens per watt efficacy. Our LEDs have been tuned to perform at two settings. Based on feedback from firefighters, the low setting is the minimum acceptable power level. The high setting is the maximum luminous output without blanching the vision of those using the ladders. At the low power setting, the lights can remain lit from dusk to dawn. Battery packs generate 20V and store 3100 mAh. Kits are designed with two independent circuits to allow for redundancy in the unlikely event of failure.
In addition to illuminating fire buildings, this lighting solution has the following applications:
-Portable scene lighting for extrications & trench rescues
-Lighting a triage & casualty collection area
-Illuminating helicopter landing zone
-Portable wide area search lighting
-Improves operational safety and decreases exposure to liability
We have a number of other innovations on the drawing board. If we are lucky enough to be more than 100% funded, we will immediately start filing provisional patent applications, and start prototyping the next life saving products!
In addition to their service to their communities, both Bill Finegan and Pat Creed are Veterans. Bill served in the Naval Reserve as a Navy Corpsman, and Pat is a retired US Army Major with service in the 75th Ranger Regiment and he also did a tour as Civil Affairs for Special Operations Command. Finegan & Creed were finalists for the Greater Philadelphia Veteran's Business Shark Tank.
A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the products will be donated to the Captain Matt LeTourneau Foundation.
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