The firefighters can only enter the burning building wearing full personal protective equipment, including self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The SCBA provides a limited air supply. The minimum number allowed in a breathing apparatus team is two firefighters. The first fire fighter in the team is known as the team leader. The team leader is responsible for safely leading the team into and out of the building. However, roles may change within the team and another member could have to lead the team out. This is commonly known in the fire service as ‘path-finding’.
Firefighters can become disorientated in this harsh environment resulting in the team becoming lost within the building. The self contained breathing apparatus provides only a limited air supply. If the fire fighters do not make it out in time their air supply will deplete with fatal results.
An emergency event may also require a response from law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) experts and military personnel. All of whom would benefit greatly from situational awareness and navigating capabilities.
The innovation involves firefighters “land marking” their route with breadcrumbs to effectively leave a trail to follow on the way out, similar to the approach taken in the fairytale story of "Hansel & Gretel".
These smart breadcrumbs can then be leveraged to form an ‘ad hoc mesh network’ to provide critical information to the Incident Commander located externally. The mesh network can be utilised in several ways. This includes:
Pathfinder speeds up deployment of multiple SCBA teams
More accuratly locate casualties and people in distress, reducing rescue minutes
Provide situational awareness to the Entry Control Officer at any given point in time
The pucks form a guide to lead first responders to the exit of a hazardous environment
Get instant feedback of the makeup of a hazardous environment
The mesh network created by the pucks works in any environment with zero assumptions
Specify the type of puck that is deployed being either a door, hazardous situation or other landmark
The digital ECB clearly marks the position of firemen in relation to their nearest deployed puck
Instant feedback on the direction in which firemen move in relation to their wall
Instantly spot who has finished their search and view a detailed report on their deployment
GLOBAL FIRST RESPONDERS EXPENDITURE
PROTECTING FIRST RESPONERS
CUPS OF COFFEE CONSUMED
by Peter Van Dorpe, Fire Chief, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Fire Protection District, USA
by Ms Michelle Young, Chief Superintendent, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Australia
by Mr. Dane Carley, Battalion Chief, Fargo Fire Department, USA