Le Champ-près-Froges (France), 7 December 2016 – Thanks to its high tech lighting balloons, Airstar played a major role in the success of Urban Shield, a yearly event which gathers the main US task forces and rescue teams, as well as overseas delegations. The French RAID was the first to be invited in 2009. This year, Mexico and Taiwan participated in the event.

Urban Shield is an intensive training event for law enforcement agencies (SWAT, FBI, Sheriff, EOD, etc.), as well as Fire agencies and Medical teams, where a number of emergency situations are simulated to train the teams to intervene and deal with various crisis scenarios, including fires, hostage situations, robberies, terrorist attacks, etc.

This year, the competition took place from September 9-12 in Alameda County, East of the San Francisco Bay. More than 30 geographic areas were put on alert in order to be as close as possible to real emergency conditions.

Amongst the thirty scenarios created under the authority of the Alameda Sheriff bureau, the most spectacular one was arguably the derailment of a freight train in the Niles Canyon in order to evaluate how reactive intervention teams could be. Other practical day and night situations included the evacuation of a radioactive area, city shootings and bomb threats.

Airstar America was selected by the Urban Shield organisers to light up 26 emergency areas, using a total of 44 lighting balloons. The Airstar solutions chosen for the occasion included the Sirocco series hosting halogen (750 watts and 60 watts), LED (600 and 60 watts), metal halide (1,000 watts) and HMI (1,200 watts) light sources, as well as the Flex 4K (4,000 watts) range.

These solutions are extremely light, fast and easy to position. The Sirocco 60W in particular is powered by a battery and is integrated into a shock-proof rollable suitcase. The lighting balloons are fitted on telescopic poles especially engineered to meet the requirements of emergency and security teams.

“We organised a Hostage Rescue scenario in a facility that didn’t have quality lighting” explained Benny Rodriguez, Assistant Site Captain for Urban Shield and a member of the California Highway Patrol. “Thanks to Airstar, the quality of lighting was superb: We used this facility in the past, and with the Airstar balloons, there were no shadows or glare anymore. The Airstar crew was also on hand to suggest where to install the balloons and they were spot on. This was by far the best lighting we’ve ever used.”

As the inventor and world leader in lighting balloon solutions for the last 20 years, Airstar has gained a reputation in the industry by manufacturing 360 degrees, non-glare and shadow-free lighting products.

Commenting on the reason why Airstar technologies are preferred by first response teams, Brett Yuhas, national sales manager for Airstar America explained: “The Sirocco and Flex solutions are easy to install and come with a whole range of optional accessories such as telescopic bases and matts, as well as rigging frames to fit them on vehicles or pylons.

“Our lighting balloons are the perfect match for many emergency situations, and create a secure work environment thanks to their non-glare light. They can be used for traffic checks, building sites and roadworks, building inspections, mining, first response calls, liner towing; basically any night situation where a good light is required.”

Commenting on the lighting, Captain Jack Tucker from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office enthused: “The lighting Airstar provided helped make a safe and successful event.” His colleague Sergeant F. Doug Matteo, facilities coordinator and law enforcement fitness specialist confirmed: “The team of Site Captains assigned to the Urban Shield Confidence Course training site were very satisfied with the performance of the Airstar lighting balloons, their non-glare feature was beneficial and ensured good visibility of each competitor while navigating obstacles.”