The future of firefighting: 4 technologies that will ensure firefighter safety
We all have seen the use of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment during Covid. Certain occupations require the use of PPE due to the hazardous nature of the work. And even a slight defect in PPE during these hazardous tasks can lead to certain death.
Astronauts or deep sea divers have to use special clothing like PPE. Firefighters also rely on special clothing and other equipment for their work. These materials can save their lives when fighting a fire. Again, if they do not work properly, there is danger of death.
The role of the fire brigade in extinguishing fires is quite old. They have been seen since the time of the Roman Empire in that ancient period. The firemen of that time used to put out the fire from a safe place outside the fire.
It was only 100 years ago that the first PPE technology came into the hands of the fire brigade. Besides, various new technologies have been invented in recent times. As a result, the firemen are now able to do the daring work of entering the burning house and putting out the fire. An example of such technology is Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA for short). It was a great discovery.
This device helps in automatic breathing. Initially, Navy divers started using this technology for deep sea breathing. But now firefighters are also using this technology.
With the help of PPE and other technologies, firefighters are now able to save lives and property from fires more efficiently. However, the danger of their work has now increased due to the fact that they have entered the very heart of the fire. Risks of accidents such as melting or collapsing burning houses remain, especially at high temperatures.
Therefore, researchers are constantly working to improve PPE and other protective materials. For this they rely on different types of sensors described below.
1. Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) technology
This technology was developed for defense purposes. A better understanding of the surrounding environment is obtained using thermal imaging camera (TIC) technology.
Therefore, ‘thermal imaging camera’ is especially useful to know where the fire has taken place, where the victim is located or where the fire has spread in the building.
2. Gas dosimeter system
Using a gas dosimeter system, it is possible to determine the amount of toxic gases a firefighter is exposed to. Again, after the end of the rescue work, the ‘PPE’ used must be decontaminated from any toxic chemicals, it is also known through this technique. It is quite important. Because if there is a fire somewhere, various toxic substances are produced from that place. And due to these, serious diseases like cancer can be born in the body.
Another issue is that many firefighters leave the scene without SCBA breathing apparatus after extinguishing the fire. Gas dosimeters are used to ensure their safety at that time. It is known whether any harmful gaseous substances remained at the accident site.
3. Heat flux measurement gauge
When there is a fire, when everything burns together, it is called a ‘flashover’. Another important function of sensors at the fire site is to monitor the risk of flashover. For this it is necessary to measure the temperature of the upper layer air. Because there is a risk of flashover if the air temperature is high.
This heat flux can generally range from 10 kW to 20 kW per square meter. At this time, the temperature of the upper layer air can reach up to about 600 degrees Celsius. Heat flux sensors are able to predict the risk of possible flashover by measuring this temperature.
4. Personal Alert Safety System
Another well-known sensor system is the ‘Personal Alert Safety System’ (PASS). With the help of this, the movement of firefighters can be monitored. This includes a device called an ‘acoustic transmitter’, which uses a light signal or ‘beacon’ to indicate where firefighters are trapped. Researchers are trying to further improve this ‘beacon’ technology. This will make it easier to locate firefighters trapped in accidents.
Researchers are also working on new sensors for use in firefighting. These range from determining what to do in the event of a fire and chemical poisoning to protecting firefighters.
In addition, the new technology can also target the stress of firefighters. And it can also tell if a worker has other health risks, such as heart problems. The researchers measured factors such as the firefighters’ heart rate, body temperature and humidity to find out.
There are also ‘personal monitoring systems’, which are easily portable. Through this it is possible to determine the pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. In addition, such monitoring systems are also equipped to detect sounds that can damage people’s hearing, starting from blood pressure, heartbeat, gas pressure or temperature.