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Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS)
By Richard Yokley - February 2018


I am a retired firefighter/EMT and besides Firefly being an awesome but unfortunately short-lived series, I had to laugh when I saw the “communications” devices being used. I had firsthand knowledge of them, as I used the devise as a firefighter as it was originally intended. A safety device strapped to my BA (Breathing apparatus) initially called P.A.L. (Personal Alarm Locator). Revised and updated over time these devices are now called a Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) and used when we entered burning buildings. It is NOT a radio. I still have my original PAL, an earlier version of the one used on the program.

I had written several newspaper articles and for various trade journals over the course of my career about televisions first responders. This lead to three books about firefighters, EMS, Lifeguards, and other first responders such as Emergency!, Rescue Me, Third Watch and many many others including International fire/rescue programs. This included other programs like Monk, The Mentalist, the CSI franchises, Law & Order franchises and several others where fire and EMS was a part of a particular episode. This includes Firefly and specifically the “Ariel’ (1.09) episode where an air ambulance was used. It is not often that props of this magnitude remain, let alone able to be salvaged and restored.

I was glad to be able to locate two PAL devices to send to the organization for their use as display pieces when taking the air ambulance to nostalgia/trade shows and other events. I wish them continued good luck in the restoration process.

To learn more about these devices please click here


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