“You can’t be in a better place for thinking about the future than Palo Alto,” City Manager James Keene said today as he kicked-off proceedings of the first ever Smart Homes Summit this morning at the Mitchell Park Community Center in the heart of Silicon Valley, California.
Pondering the high tech future of the fire service is the aim of the summit, hosted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Gathered are more than 80 participants spanning the fire service, technology professionals, data analytics experts, and others, including a slate of more than 30 speakers over a day and a half.
“We have a problem: We kill a couple thousand people per year in the U.S. in fires, and we want to solve this problem,” said Casey Grant (at right), the executive director of the Foundation. “As we see organizations with better ways of doing things, whether it’s through data analytics, hardware, software, or something else—there are lot impressive things going on—we, as fire professionals, want to be connected at hip with technology. That’s our aim here.”
U.S. Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell and California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover also addressed attendees this morning, to convey the need to adapt, develop and utilize technology and innovation to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of fighting and preventing fire.
“There couldn’t be a better time than now to have this summit based on what has been going on in this state,” Hoover said. “With four years of drought, the wildfire behavior we’ve seen this summer and fall is beyond anything what a scientist could model.”
Just the Valley and Butte fires in Northern California this fall burned thousands of structures and caused an estimated $2 billion worth of property loss, in addition to at least six deaths.
The Summit continues through today and concludes at noon tomorrow.