fire service

Fire technology doesn’t come cheap and its implementation with firefighter tools demands certain adjustments to training and operating procedures. However, this technology has been instrumental in improving the safety of the personnel and equipment. That is why it is important to invest in fire technology and assist the firefighters in effectively doing their job.

Did you know that a firefighter gear costs nearly $10,000? But it offers significant assistance to the first responders. That is why the authorities don’t pull back when it comes to fire technology. For instance, the Los Angeles Fire Department deployed their Robotics Systems 3 (RS3) firefighting droids in October 2020 which proved exceedingly helpful during a massive textile warehouse fire. The RS3 used its front-mounted plow and made its way into the burning structure after fire crews were pulled back for safety reasons.

The rapid advancements in technology have improved the responses of the fire service tremendously. Take a look at 6 such tools that have been incorporated into the fire service for their extensive benefits:

1. Personnel Accountability Management Systems

During an emergency, firefighter accountability is considered one of the most important things. It is important for team commanders to know the exact location of every firefighter, especially in critical events like a structural collapse. This is where Personnel Accountability Management Systems come in. Such a system helps with:

  • Quickly logging any new incidents
  • Checking the deployment of personnel, responding staff, and other resources at all times
  • Quickly responding to an incident
  • Accessing the destination and ETA of personnel to the scene, etc.

2. Firefighting Drones

Drones have been an extremely helpful tool in public safety. In fact, a 2017 report revealed that they were acquired by more than 350 state and local police, fire, and emergency service units as they serve many purposes. They help with quick fire-ground assessment and provide a detailed picture of the scene to the first responders. It has significantly reduced their exposure and risk as they can plan better to contain the scene.

3. Tracking Exposure

Firefighters are often exposed to smoke and cancer-causing materials. The International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) has developed the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker App to track and document the exposure data. It has been helpful in assessing liability claims, coverage for occupational health claims, and worker’s compensation.

4. Helmets with Built-in Thermal Imaging Displays

You may have noticed firefighters wearing helmets that have a thermal imaging camera fixed into the facepiece. This technology offers a wireframe overlay of the surroundings and thus allows firefighters to gain constant visibility even in thick smoke while leaving their hands free.

5. Smart Jackets

Smart jackets are an important part of the firefighting gear. They help in assessing the personal health of firefighters. Nearly 42% of firefighter fatalities in 2016 were a result of overexertion or stress. Thus, it is important to monitor the health, fitness, and wellness of firefighters.

These smart jackets are equipped with personnel tracking technology and sensors that have the ability to monitor heart rate, temperature, and motion. That is why these jackets are increasingly getting popular.

6. Teaching Firefighting in VR

Fire Service

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Firefighters are often deployed in dangerous situations and thus need to be trained properly to manage these situations. This is where training with the help of VR has proved to be extremely helpful. For instance, a fully-immersive Virtual Reality (VR) training system designed by the Australian company FLAIM has a special turnout gear that heats up during specific training situations.

This tool allows the trainer to bring the live fire-training ground into the classroom. It takes hardly 15 minutes to set up. The VR headset and simulator hoses replicate a real-life situation and offer a series of learning scenarios. Thus, it helps firefighters train in risk awareness, hazard anticipation, and fire suppression tactics.

The recent advancements in technology in fire safety may be expensive and a bit complex. But, they have helped streamline operations and ensure firefighter safety. Although there are many challenges when it comes to handling such operations, there is no denying the fact that introducing technology has significantly reduced the risk and exposure of firefighters.

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