The Smart Firefighting collective is a diverse group including startups such as Ascent Integrated Tech, SlateSafety, Longan Vision, Squishy Robotics, EaseAlert, FlowMSP, as well as established companies like 3M Scott, Motorola, alongside manufacturers, distribution partners, research institutions, and end-users. This team is striving to create a comprehensive dashboard for Incident Command, delivering crucial insights into firefighters’ well-being, location, and mapping the battlespace of structural fires.
One of the major challenges for first responders is accurate location tracking inside buildings, as GNSS doesn’t meet the mission. A solution that provides 1-meter precision in indoor settings is crucial. However, the team believes simply knowing a responder’s location isn’t enough without also understanding their biometric data and environmental context.
To address these issues, the Smart Firefighting team is working on a platform that combines localization and biometric monitoring. This can be adapted and fitted onto any equipment a fire department currently uses. The Ascent platform, a key part of this technology, creates building floorplans, tracks firefighters in 3D space within multi-story buildings, and alerts Incident Command about detected emergencies or anomalies through health and environmental notifications. It integrates well with existing connected technologies on the fireground and serves as an invaluable tool for pre-planning and consolidating essential report-out information.
Ascent’s sensor equipment attaches onto current Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SBCAs) without altering their base functionality. It streams thermal imaging, environmental conditions, and location data back to Ascent’s dashboard. The sensors monitor environmental factors like CO2 levels, humidity, airborne metal oxide, and location data derived from various sources like accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, GPS, and more.
Furthermore, through Slate Safety’s wearable device, vitals like heart rate, O2 saturation, stress, and body temperature of firefighters can be monitored and presented in an organized manner on Ascent’s platform. This data can also be reviewed post-incident for training, investigation, or clinical or government scrutiny. This technology is designed to enhance firefighter safety and efficiency.
Throughout the product development process, the team has collaborated closely with first responder partners to ensure the solution meets the specific needs of firefighters during their missions, and that it optimizes user experience. The team’s goal for this challenge is to achieve the targeted 1-meter 3D indoor location tracking accuracy through a combination of multiple sensor sources, indoor structure mapping, a machine learning model for real-time indoor structure prediction, and the integration of first responder training and behavior data.