Fire Department Network News

Emergency/Triage Lights [E/T LIGHTS™] are a triage device and method developed in alliance with the United States Air Force Special Operations medics that offers a faster and more effective way of marking individuals for care at the scenes of major incidents and disasters. These portable lights can be used by firefighters to replace triage tags during mass casualty incidents or during brush fires.

Marketing Director for Southwest Synergistic Solutions, David Garcia, stated, “It was originally developed for air force medics and the purpose was to quickly identify the wounded soldiers on the battlefield.”

E/T LIGHTS™ can be used by firefighters during incidents such as building fires. For example, tagging a doorway with green to give responders the ‘ok’ to enter, or red to caution them to stay away. The lights can also be used on the ground and used as perimeter lighting or as a “cookie trail” during a brush fire. They can be set as a solid light or to a blinking mode. The solid color lights can be used to tag different teams. “If one of the teams that are out there need an emergency or assistance in an emergency, they can set it to blinking mode and that way we know ‘Someone on the green team needs assistance,’ ” explained Garcia.

David Garcia claimed that E/T LIGHTS™ are the only device that has ever been made that is equipped with all of the lights in one single device. These patented lights have housing made of silicon, are water-proof and stay flexible. They can also withstand temperatures from 130 degrees to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The lights come with a canister that includes instructions on how to operate the device. There is a notch on the lights so that the on/off switch can be felt for in the dark. Also built-in to the device is a locking mechanism so that it cannot be turned off or changed by a patient.

“To de-activate, hold the trigger down for three seconds. It turns off and then the sequence starts again. It goes from red to red flashing, amber to amber flashing, green to green flashing and then blue to blue flashing,” described David Garcia.

Since they are reusable, E/T LIGHTS™ are a great alternative to chemical light sticks. According to Garcia, they replace 72 blue chemical light sticks, 35 red chemical light sticks and 38 green chemical light sticks, all in one device. Garcia added that when they are turned on, if they are set to steady mode, they will last 3-5 days. If the lights are left in the blinking mode, they will last over 8 days. E/T LIGHTS™ come with a lanyard, but there is a key ring option, a flat bottom or an extended nose cone to make the light longer.

Triage Light Features as listed on

• Attachment Locations (Loops)

• Notched Tip: Designed to aid the user in locating the switch even under blind conditions.

• Recessed Switch: The switch is located inside the body of the E/T LIGHTS™. This helps prevent the selected condition from being changed inadvertently. The user needs to press into the body of the light.

• Silicon Housing: Used because of its wide temperature usability. The light has been used at -20°F for an extended period and did not freeze or get brittle.

• Interference Fit Seal: Water resistant, pressure tested to 66 ft.

End cap Options: Choose from the flat bottomed end cap, loop end cap or custom end cap for electronics, storage, flotation, etc.

• Lithium Battery: Provide longer light function. Our tests show that the red LED will remain on for a minimum of 72 hrs. Blue LED will stay on a minimum of 144 hrs. Green LED will stay on a minimum of 192 hrs. (From 144 hours up to 240 hours when set to blinking) Battery shelf life is 4+ years.

• Easy Battery Removal: Designed to be re-usable/ disposable and economical.

• Software Features/Board Features: The sequence for Version 1 is Press once – Infra-red, press twice blinking Infra-red (60/minute), press a third time- Red, press a fourth time – Green, press a fifth time – Blue, and press a sixth time – light turns Off and sequence restarts.

• Emergency Off Feature: If at any time the user presses the switch for over 2 seconds the light will turn off and the sequence will restart.

• Selection Memory: The E/T LIGHTS™ has a selection memory. It is very important that the selected condition not change or if the lights were tossed or banged around that the selection remained on. All electronics when thrown around may lose power for milliseconds and subsequently turn off because of interruption of power due to shock. We have solved this issue by building the E/T LIGHTS™ with a memory. So even if the lights are thrown and battery contact is lost. The lights will turn back on to the last selection selected.

• Reprogrammable chip: The new boards have programming pads. This was done to customize the color sequence and pulse rates to any sequence or rate desired. You can have the same light wavelength flashing at different rates within each different selection. This also facilitates accommodating special requests for customized operations and inclusion of specific operating sensors.

• Lock Feature: Versions 3 and 4 of the E/T LIGHTS™ have the lock feature activated. This feature locks in a color selection after it has been left on for over 3 seconds, preventing the patients from re-prioritizing themselves.

• LED’s: Used because of their low power consumption and long life. LED’s have 100,000 to 200,000 hours of use. Infra-red LED may be replaced with other colored LED. Colored LED’s may be replaced with different wavelength infrared LED’s or different intensity infrared LED’s.

Contributors to this story:
Barbara Brooks – Reporter
Anna Sweeney – Camera/Editor
Renee Marquart – Text

Author:B.Brooks, A.Sweeney, R. Marquart –