Lightsticks are practical for firefighters

Cyalume works hand-in-hand with civil defense bodies, and in particular with specialized firefighter teams operating in activity areas such as:

  • Rescue-Cleaning up (RC),
  • Water Rescue (diving, searching in rough water, flooding and high tides…)
  • Operations in dangerous locations (high risk),
  • Nuclear, bacteriological and chemical risks (CBRN)…


Cyalume lightsticks used in support of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations by firefighters

Cyalume products are used for rescue-cleaning up activities and for marking out, guidance and identification in France and abroad. They are recommended and integrated in the widest variety of shapes and colors in protocols like USAR/ISAR (Urban Search & Rescue / International Search & Rescue) in the UK (protocol in this link) to:


  • mark out specific danger zones,
  • mark safe zones,
  • identify GO/NO-GO passages,
  • Identify specific tasks
  • light or illuminate an area in general …


The fact that additional information can be written directly on some products, like the VisiPad rectangular markers or the LightShape circular markers using a marker pen, make them particularly useful. They can also be used to identify people.

In France, this type of protocol is also being used in the southeast zone. INSARAG certification is underway and should be in place by 2017. A marking / signaling package is implicitly specified in the national doctrine.


In the same way as in the UK, the French protocol uses Cyalume lightsticks for:

  • Personnel marking and identification
  • Marking of mandatory or forbidden routes
  • Building marking
  • Attendance reporting
  • Easier display of routes and branches during reconnaissance
  • Identification and marking of excavations and points where access is difficult
  • Marking out of work areas


Cyalume lightsticks are also ideal for dealing with NOVI (Numerous Victims) evacuation plans, simplifying coordination between the rescue services and victim identification (check out the press release about a full-scale drill carried out in coordination with SNCF and the emergency services).

Cyalume products provide support for rescue at sea and in rough water, and for diving

Water Rescue

SDIS 84 uses our products for WR (Water Rescue) for lighting during night-time applications.

During searches or rescue operations at night, it is advisable to use additional lighting equipment to:


  • more easily identify the rescuers
  • improve the visual acuity of the rescuers by reducing the visual working light intensity and marking drifting objects (hulls, boats …).
  • marking out the navigation areas and the landing points, in particular to give the operators bearings at night during mass evacuation by boat
  • marking the victims and the rescuers during water rescue operations at night, in particular when the current is strong. It preserves visibility and allows drifting due to the current to be evaluated. LightShape circular markers can be affixed to the evacuees allowing their identification by the rescuers


Cyalume lighting products like the VisiPad rectangular marker and the LightShape circular marker can be affixed to helmets or neoprene wetsuits, or to the hulls of rescue vessels or rafts.

SDIS 84 has compiled a zonal collection of good practices applying to water rescue equipment and more especially dealing with the use of Cyalume products during night missions for applications concerning the identification of rescuers, the marking of drifting objects, the marking out of zones etc..


Experience feedback in SDIS 58 concerning VisiPad devices shows how efficient this lighted marker can be on a vehicle. It is visible even in particle-charged water. The adhesive resists submersion.

It is also particularly efficient for surface operations. It is recommended to provide diving cylinders with VisiPad markers.


Cyalume works seamlessly with the National Diving authority and, together, they have tested and approved situations in which these products can be used:


  • Identification of an entry point and an exit point for confined space diving. The term confined space diving is used when divers are unable to reach the surface quickly because of difficult routes, low visibility and conditions impeding progression. Under conditions like these, civil protection divers have to use new techniques and equipment appropriate to this new environment.

-the green 6” SnapLight lightstick (15cm) is used to mark the main line entry point

-the yellow 6” SnapLight lightstick (15cm) is used to mark the main line exit point

-the red 6” SnapLight lightstick (15cm) is used to identify passages with prohibited access to secondary lines


  • Identification of a diver, an ascent stop line, a marker line, a boat hull during rescue

In this case, the diver is identified by a green 6” SnapLight lightstick (15cm) attached to a dive vest.

The ascent stop line is identified by yellow 6” SnapLight lightsticks (15cm) as are site markers and ship’s hulls. In the latter case, the Cyalume lightstick can be attached to the ship’s hull by a magnetic mounting base.


  • Identification of a circle starting point during a search

The red 25cm Flare Alternative lightstick by Cyalume identifies the starting point of a circle search pattern during a rescue operation, defining a full revolution to situate the circle in space.


  • Site marking for sites where searching has already taken place (e.g. diving in flooded dwellings). The VisiPad rectangular self-adhesive markers are used for marking out sites when search operations have already been carried out (e.g. by diving in flooded dwellings).


Since 2014, Cyalume products have become recommended equipment for underwater activities used by firefighters during rescue operations. This is mentioned on page 17 of the Annex to the Référentiel National Français (REAC) (French national referential) governing “operations, rescue and safety in water and hyperbaric environments”.

In France, all the regional fire and rescue services specializing in search and rescue diving are now required to apply this new doctrine.

Flooding and high tides

Cyalume supported the training operations of the Paris firefighters (BSPP) in March 2016, during the “EU Sequana” operation which simulated the 100-year flooding of the Seine.

The flooding risk is covered by the European Directive of October 23, 2007 concerning the assessment and control of flooding risks. This directive has to be transposed into internal law by the member states to make a national effort for the evaluation and management of flooding risks. It involves drawing up a map of the risks to identify the major risk zones (High Risk Areas – Territoires à Risque Important – TRI).


The “EU Sequana 2016” operation has provided the means of testing the operational efficiency of this European arrangement. The European committee financed a large share of the exercise and several of the member states involved provided help with operational activities .

EU Sequana provided a unique opportunity to assess communication concerning the flooding risk and its impact on the population. The management of public information was one of the main goals of this exercise.

With Sequana, the primary challenge was to make people aware of how to assess their own situation: in the event of flooding, should I leave the Paris area? Where should I go? What can I do if there is no more transport? How could I survive in the event of a shortage?


The Paris firefighting services used Cyalume products on various sites for a range of applications:

  • Landing areas: materialization of a route for the arrival and departure of boats
  • Mustering point for people on an island
  • Marking out of zones and routes
  • Marking of persons + equipment
  • Medical triage with red, yellow and green colors

Lightsticks used for operations in highly dangerous situations

During operations in dangerous areas, civil defense vehicle convoys are identified by revolving emergency lights which can cause dazzle. It is easy to replace them with 10” Flare Alternative lightsticks (25cm) mounted on magnetic bases (green lightstick on the leading vehicle of the convoy, red lightstick on the rearmost vehicle closing the convoy and yellow lightsticks on those between them).

The Cyalume 10” (25cm) and 15” (40cm) lightsticks are used for marking the boundaries of the operating zones, often impacted by visual pollution because of the use of high-power halogen floodlights. Passages and galleries can also be marked out using 6” SnapLight green, red and yellow lightsticks (15cm). It is also possible to use 10” yellow Flare Alternative lightsticks (25cm) to illuminate a special zone, for instance to reassure a victim who has to be left alone momentarily. The LightShape circular markers are used in a variety of colors to identify the commanders of all the operating units in a zone.


They can be attached to the shoulder and stay in place despite difficult progression through tunnels. This identification is a fast means of identifying all the units working on the intervention sites, localizing them and distinguishing the role of each person as commander, medical team member etc.


During personal rescue operations, Cyalume products are used for:

  • Illuminating hotspots, providing victims with assistance to avoid panic and to reassure (6” SnapLight sticks (15cm)) or 15” IMPACT lightsticks (40cm) (activated on impact with the ground) when the victim is in a cavity.
  • Medical triage (categorization of injured parties by color): LightShape circular adhesive patch or Visipad rectangular patch. During operations in dangerous environments, firefighters are authorized to carry out fast medical triage. To do this triage, they use Visipad rectangular markers to distinguish the victims from the rescue teams, wearing LightShape circular markers. The VisiPad markers also have a larger surface area on which a message can be written. Red VisiPad markers are used in emergencies and green pads for intermediate emergency levels. In this case, 40cm red Non-IMPACT sticks can be used with a cone adapter to mark an evacuee mustering point.
  • Victim evacuation, lifeline marking (6” Snaplight sticks (15cm) visible up to 300 meters)
  • Mustering zone, waiting points for rescuers (6” Snaplight sticks(15cm))
  • Emergency rescue lighting stowed away in a bag.


During operations in dangerous situations, Cyalume lightsticks are also used for:

  • marking out working areas:
  • indicating road verges (6” Snaplight sticks) or 10” high intensity Flare Alternative light with Flash up mounting
  • Helicopter landing zone (6” Snaplight lightsticks)
  • Obstacle marking: trees, rocks, prohibited points (15cm red Snaplight sticks)
  • Marking / identification: team leader, unit member, tents, materiel (bags, stretchers). Adhesive Lightshape circular patch or Visipad rectangular patch
  • Dog identification: a lightstick is attached to the search dog’s harness enabling K9 handlers to know exactly the position reached by the dog
  • Rope-work: identification of abseil rope with weighted bag (6” Snaplight sticks), PML beacon light or 15” Impact lightstick allowing single-handed activation

Controlling nuclear, bacteriological and chemical (CBRN) risks

Cyalume products are type-approved for confined zones and can be used as a source of light and for marking during operations on chemical accidents where there are risks of explosion. They are ideal for dealing with CBRN risks and the lightsticks can be used in highly confined areas close to explosive substances like gases, petrol, oils etc.

During these CBRN operations, Cyalume 10” lightsticks (25cm) and markers can be used for marking secure and risk-free routes, identifying contaminated zones, as well as victims.

The related Cyalume products