Emergency Communications Organisation | www.emergencycomms.org
Issue 01 Journal
Inform | Communicate | Respond
Issue 01 - Spring 2013

Bren-Tronics logoExpeditionary Power Expertise Proves Vital for Emergency Response

Emergency Comms talks to Sylvain Lhuissier, International Sales and Marketing Director, Bren-Tronics

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Bren-Tronics produces ruggedized batteries, battery charging systems, and expeditionary power sources designed for the unique needs of Air, Land or Sea military operations.

Q: Tell me about the importance of battery power and mobile communications in the Emergency Response Arena?
A: Like in any other area, power is always a key issue for mobile communication. Moreover, Emergency Response Area is generally subjected to severe climatic and topographic conditions that must not affect the radio communication reliability which is vital for the users.

Handheld auxiliary power- mobile charging system. Photo © Bren-Tronics.
Handheld auxiliary power- mobile charging system. Photo © Bren-Tronics.

Furthermore, when the infrastructures are damaged (road, building, AC grid…), users have to be power independent. They need an easy field deployable power solution to establish and maintain the communication network. A renewable power system is therefore an option.

Q: So, are Bren-Tronics portable power solutions being used by First Responders in rescue situations, in re-establishing communication in areas where power has been lost due to natural disasters or other crises, in providing power via generators and other “off-grid” solutions for base station operations, or all of the above?
A: Bren-Tronics portable power solutions applications are not limited to mobile communication systems. Any electro-mechanical device requires power. Hence, we are powering ground robots, chemical detection sensors or any other tools.

A first responders’ mission is very similar to a military special force mission. They need to be agile and efficient immediately. Typical mission duration is for a few days and they are dropped with all their equipment. Thus, from a power stand point, they need to be power independent and able to power different types of equipment. An adaptive and universal power system is therefore optimizing the weight and logistic for such a mission.

Satellite communication system with solar power station. Photo © Bren-Tronics.
Satellite communication system with solar power station. Photo © Bren-Tronics.

Second mission phase is based on a longer duration were users are deploying a logistic chain by providing generators. However, we noticed that the supply of fuel is very critical or sometime impossible when the infrastructures are destroyed. Therefore, we deployed “off-grid” solutions based on solar panels, wind turbine, fuel cell and Li-Ion battery storage.

Q: Can you give me a brief overview of where and how Bren-Tronics solutions are being used by First Responders, Emergency Response and Crisis Management Organisations, and Law Enforcements Organisations worldwide?
A: The first field experience was in Japan after the disaster in March 2011. Bren-Tronics products were embedded into the ground robots to inspect Fukushima nuclear power plant. Then renewable power systems based on Li-Ion batteries were deployed to create “off-grid” power stations for communication and coordination centers.

A more recent experience was in New-York after hurricane Sandy (2012). It directly touched Bren-Tronics people located on Long Island, NY. High capacity rechargeable Li-Ion batteries were distributed to power all personal gear such as cell phones. People were able to maintain contact together while they were isolated (no power grid and blocked roads).

Analog Radio Com with Methanol Fuel Cell. Photo © Bren-Tronics.
Analog Radio Com with Methanol Fuel Cell. Photo © Bren-Tronics.

Q: Obviously in Rescue Operations reliability is critical. Is that why so many First Response Organisations rely on a company with a proven track record “in the field” as Bren-Tronics?
A: Bren-Tronics expertise in Military power solutions design is guarantying the performance of batteries under any circumstances. Both Areas have very similar technical requirements. Batteries must be safe, easy to use and offer high capacity for long lasting communication. Batteries are immersion proof, shock proof and operate from -30°C to +60°C.

Q: Can you gave me an idea of the kind of feedback you may have gotten from Communication Crew Chiefs who have used your gear?
A: Feedback from French Securité Civile, SIC (Communication and Information System):

“Bren-Tronics products are robust, compact and multi role. The mobility is improved thanks to renewable power sources such as flexible solar panels.”

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