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LEDs Help Firefighters Breath Easier

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Firefighters are breathing easier thanks to the integration of LEDtronics' LEDs into the respiratory protection features on Scott Health and Safety’s groundbreaking Air-Pak® NxG2™ Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). LEDs illuminate the Air-Pak’s Buddy System Indicators that enable firefighters to keep tabs on each other while in hazardous environments, and the Heads-Up-Display that shows the air level of the SCBA to the firefighter.

A new federal safety regulation stipulates that a firefighter must have an unobstructed view of how much air is in the SCBA's cylinder. To comply with this standard, Scott Health & Safety designed a Heads-Up-Display that mounts onto their E-Z Flo® II Regulator. The regulator then attaches to the facemask, positioning the gauge in the firefighter’s field of view. To light up the Heads-Up-Display, Scott engineers selected LEDtronics' LEDs due to outstanding reliability and striking brilliance. With nearly two decades of experience in LED technology and an extensive install legacy, LEDtronics has a reputation for reliability and innovation.

After studying Scott’s design and specifications, LEDtronics’ field representative Gary Anderson (Eastern Electronics in Raleigh, North Carolina) recommended sunlight-visible surface mount LEDs (LEDtronics part number SML10xx-TR). Measuring 0.118"L x 0.057"W x 0.018"H, they fit the display’s space allotment on the regulator, but most importantly, the LEDs are radiant and easily seen in dense smoke. LEDs of different colors (green, yellow and red) represent air volume levels: full, three-quarter, half and one-quarter. Other factors contributing to Anderson’s selection of the SML10xx-TR Series are their sparing use of energy and low generation of heat. In a battery-operated application such as the Air-Pak NxG2, the low power consumption of the LEDs means that the Heads-Up-Display can function for a prolonged period of time without taxing the battery pack of the SCBA. The cool operation of the LEDs is significant due to the Heads-Up-Display’s proximity to the firefighter's facemask.

While the Heads-Up-Display can only be seen by an individual firefighter, the NxG2’s Buddy System Indicators are visible to other firefighters. Two LEDs, one to each side of the air cylinder, are positioned on the backframe. When operating normally the LEDs emit an intense blue-green light; however, if assistance is needed, the LEDs change to vivid yellow to alert other firefighters.

With the application requiring a multicolor-capable LED, Anderson proposed the LEDtronics standard sunlight-visible 5mm RGB LED (LEDtronics part number DIS-1024). Scott Health and Safety was pleased with the LED’s color and vividness, but thought that the LED in its standard discrete form was too susceptible to damage. Proving its reputation for innovation, Anderson and LEDtronics worked with the Scott engineers and created a sturdy housing for the LED.

They attached a wire harness to the leads, placed the LED inside a clear lens (LEDtronics part number LCD470W-CW), encapsulated it in water-clear epoxy, and then secured the final assembly to the backframe with a nut and lock washer. The collaborative effort yielded a panel-mount LED (LEDtronics part number PNL-1147-001) of stunning brightness and exceptional durability. Solid-state circuitry makes it resistant to the incidental impacts and the harsh environments that firefighters experience in the course of their work. Moreover, its piercing luminosity serves as a high-profile Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) indicator that makes it easier for firefighters to keep a watchful eye on their colleagues.

Buddy System Indicators, Heads-Up-Display and other technologically advanced features are sure to make the Air-Pak NxG2 the preferred choice for self-contained breathing apparatus among firefighters for years to come. Like the firefighters who pick Scott products because of their time-tested performance and brand integrity, Scott Health and Safety selected LEDtronics' LEDs for the brightness that makes them visible in thick smoke; for the solid-state circuitry that allows them to endure the punishment of fighting fires; and for the reliability that equals that of the firefighters depending upon them.


LEDtronics Inc.— located in Torrance, CA — manufactures an array of LED products ranging from discrete surface mount indicators to direct incandescent replacement LED lamps and bulbs for applications such as transportation, panel indication and decorative lighting. LEDs come in visible (400-700 nanometers), infrared (830-940 nanometers) and ultraviolet (370-410 nanometers) wavelengths. For additional information, contact LEDtronics toll free at 1-800-579-4875 or click here to email us. Visit our website at

Scott Health and Safety manufactures and markets self-contained breathing apparatus and other respiratory protection equipment, thermal imaging cameras, and breathing air compressors as well as portable and fixed gas detection instruments. Scott is perhaps best known for its Air-Pak brand of self-contained breathing apparatus used by firefighters and other first responders. Scott Health & Safety—headquartered in Monroe, NC—is a part of Tyco’s Fire and Security business segment. For information on the Air-Pak NxG2, go to website:

The Product Used: Surface Mount Device LEDs & RGB LEDs

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