Smart firefighting technology is increasingly used today by the fire service to assess risks before, during, and after incidents. Data captured from smart technology is helping to make firefighting safer and more efficient than ever before.
Emerging technologies including cyber-physical systems (CPS) and situational awareness tools allow for the collection of information and the transmission of relevant information in a timely manner. This timely exchange improves the safety and functionality of every firefighter. Advances in sensor performance and enhanced firefighting equipment also prompt important questions about how to effectively use the data that is generated by smart technology.
Smart firefighting technology can be effectively employed during wildfires. Wildfire scenarios present a number of unique challenges, and opportunities for positive change. Often characterized by their unpredictable nature, wildfires require the fire service to contend with limited resources, rapidly evolving weather patterns, and fast-moving hazards. Response crews deal with poor visibility, exposure to the elements, high victim accountability, aerial suppression, and incomplete or inaccurate triage reports from across a wide swath of land.
Emerging technologies and sensors such as physiological monitoring and unmanned aerial systems can help with poor visibility, high risk areas, jurisdictional reporting, situational awareness, and incident assessment. Information about the environment can be provided to firefighters and incident commanders, offer real-time situational updates , and deliver reliable predictions of future fire spread.
FireSat is a NASA satellite-technology that uses infrared sensors to identify wildfires that have grown to more than 35-50 feet wide. Within 15 minutes of a wildfire starting, FireSat detects the fire, this is an incredible technological advantage in a field where timing is crucial to preventing damage. Past iterations have captured and transmitted fire images a few times a day, but new technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab will take images every minute.
In the long run, the data gleaned from smart technology like FireSat will also allow the fire service and forestry organizations to mitigate, predict and respond to wildfires. Using smart technology during a wildfire scenario and utilizing the data captured from emerging technologies will go a long way in preventing loss of life and property, and keeping our first responders safer.
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