Fire Fighting Technology Group
The objective of this project is to conduct research on the development of technology to track first responders as teams enter and move about single and multi-story structures. The results from this research will set the standards for reliable tracking systems that will allow incident commanders, both fire service and law enforcement, to monitor operations in real time.
This effort extends research already underway to examine the capabilities and limitations of different technologies in a number of different scenarios. Each of the existing technologies have limitations, so currently, no system based on a single technology appears to address all scenarios and conditions. It may be necessary to combine multiple technologies, such as Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), or ad hoc networks and RFID, in order to allow continuous tracking of teams in wood, steel, and concrete structures and differentiate between different elevations, floors and roofs. Are there additional technologies such as ultrasonic-based systems that may provide acceptable performance?
Ad hoc networking, sometimes called mesh networking, has often been mentioned as a solution for adapting a radio network to the requirements for reliable communication in an unpredicted network deployment or topology. However, indoor deployments of firefighters do not necessarily support a mesh (grid) of networked radios, and the line of relays from inside to outside, sometimes called "breadcrumbs," is a difficult topology for radio access protocols.
In order to implement 3D tracking using UWB systems it is necessary to provide performance metrics for non-line-of-sight localization of emergency responders and create a comprehensive digital library of experimentally-derived building material electromagnetic penetration properties that will enable the development of accurate 3D tracking systems for emergency responders operating within buildings.
There are a number of companies that are currently manufacturing RFID tags and readers for tracking commercial items. RFID technologies need to be examined to understand what is the information storage capability for RFID tags, what is the fire fighter/occupant location accuracy as a function of reader locations, and what is the impact of building design and construction on reader performance.
Monitoring the status and environment of firefighters and occupants inside buildings from outside the building is critical for managing the firefighting effort and pre-serving life and property. This research ex-amines the capabilities and limitations of different technologies including multi-nodal distributed systems, robotic pedometers, and ultrawide band radio tags.
“For more information, read the report, “Structural and Electromagnetic Scenarios for Firefighter Locator Tracking Systems”