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Arizona Department of Forestry testing new locating device to improve safety


The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management is testing new satellite-based crew locating and communication devices to improve safety.

Officials say that six of the department’s 13 wildland fire hand crews will carry and test new field support and safety devices known as DropBlocks.

They’re essentially GPS tracking and locating systems that will provide another layer of communication and accountability for crews at work in remote areas with limited or no cell phone service.

The department says they have been exploring ways to increase crew safety and enhance communication between firefighters and overhead for years.

They plan to distribute the DropBlocks to all of the agency’s wildland fire hand crews and engine crews if testing is successful.