When firefighters arrive on-scene at a fire, they typically lack critical information about the structure, such as its floor plan, which puts them at significant risk.
Today’s communication, computing, sensor and networking technologies could change all that, according to the new "Research Roadmap for Smart Fire Fighting" which was officially released today by the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation), the research affiliate of NFPA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The roadmap report charts steps toward overcoming technical obstacles so that interconnected technologies, known collectively as cyber-physical systems, or CPS, can be harnessed to significantly improve fire protection and fire fighting capabilities.
“The ultimate aim of the roadmap is to enable real-time delivery of useful information before, during, and after a fire incident or other emergency—to get actionable intelligence to the first responders who need it, when they need it,” said Anthony Hamins, who heads NIST’s Fire Research Division.
The fire service and other first responders are already benefiting from today’s enhanced technologies and access to ‘big data’, notes Casey Grant, executive director of the Foundation. "But that existing level of access and usage merely reflects the tip of the iceberg," said Grant. "Our ever-increasing sensor-rich environment is continually generating vast amounts of potentially useful information, so that the ‘smart’ fire fighters of tomorrow will be able to perform their work more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”