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IOT – Firefighting Example

Smart Firefighting
• Smart firefighting involves gathering, storing,
exchanging, analyzing, and integrating
information from a wide range of databases
and sensor networks.
Gathering Information
• Acquiring actionable information from the fire-ground is critical for effective
firefighting operations.
• Four types of information sources:
– Community-based;
– Occupant;
– Building; and
– Fire-fighting information.
• Today, data from a variety of sources are collected independently and processed
– Firefighter electronic equipment – such as a breathing apparatus, thermal imagers, and radios
– don’t communicate with each other.
– Additionally, they don’t communicate with building sensors, firefighting tools, or community
• As the development of new electronic technologies continues, more data will
become available for firefighting and fire protection.
– This includes information on a firefighter’s and building occupant’s location, firefighter
physiology, a building’s state, and fire conditions.
• In other words, a vast amount of fire ground data is becoming available to improve
both tactical and operational decisions.
• Sensors convert the characteristics of the physical
environment involved in a fire emergency into raw
data, thereby transforming what’s perceived into
actionable information.
• Leveraging emerging sensor technologies and installed
systems in buildings provides opportunities for smart
• Continuing advances will provide the possibility of
integrating sensors into firefighters’ personal protective
equipment (PPE), as well as firefighting equipment and
other apparatuses (such as land vehicles, watercraft,
aircraft, satellites, and robotic systems).
• Integrating sensor data with software analytics tools within
and across architectural levels requires two things:
– Standardizing network protocols, beyond those existing today,
to cover wireless communications;
– Standardized syntax and semantics to cover the conceptual
• In firefighting, expert understanding of fire protection
engineering, fire science, physics, and information science
will be needed.
– To date, the use of information modeling in those disciplines has
been virtually non-existent.
– As a result, the effectiveness of communication on the
fireground is often problematic with the quality and quantity of
information highly variable and unreliable.
Getting Ready
• Effective management of fire events requires access to
and processing of information collected prior to and
after an event.
• Fire-service, data-user applications require information
from inspectors and enforcers, preplanning activities,
training and education, and fire investigations.
• While preparing for and traveling to and from fire
incidents, first responders must make many decisions
– This requires detailed and up-to-date information about
the incident, including location, threats to resources and
humans, emergency resources available, and surrounding
environmental conditions.
Getting Ready – Cont’d
• The optimal way to gather the required
information is to collect data prior to the event,
or after other similar events that have occurred.
• Similarly, accurate assessment of the
effectiveness of equipment, tactics, and
resources is best evaluated when complete
information about incident characteristics,
resource capabilities, and location characteristics
are observed, recorded, and archived.
The Fire Ground
• At the first indication of a fire, the IC (?) uses available
information and technologies as follows:
– To plan an initial strategy for suppression and rescue; and
– To alert the necessary community services.
• That strategy includes the number and types of equipment
and personnel to send in the fire ground and tactics they
should execute once they arrive.
• Once the equipment and personnel arrive, the personnel or
the IC will set up a temporary wireless network and deploy
a number of different sensor technologies to get a
comprehensive and accurate assessment of the situation.
• The sensors and network will continue to operate as
needed throughout the current event.
Processing Data
• This streaming, real-time information is
transmitted to the IC, who uses computational
tools to develop a new operational plan and
issues new operational plan and issues new
commands to the personnel as appropriate.
• Those personnel will be equipped with a variety
of sensors, personnel provide real-time data
about their own conditions, their locations, the
fire growth, and suppression/rescue operations.
• These sensor-related data comes in three
possible forms to the IC: text, audio, and video.
Models of Fire Ground
• To update the operational plan, the IC creates and runs a series of
computational models of fire growth, smoke generation, structural
integrity, evacuation, suppression, ventilation, environmental
conditions, air and water supply, tenability, and resource allocation.
• Each of these models access repository and sensor information;
integrate, process, and analyze that information; and return
predictions or results for other models to use as input and for the IC
to use for decision making.
• As the software applications collect additional real-time data, they
automatically update models, outputs, and predictions.
• Others with important firefighting roles, such as police and
hospitals also benefit from forecasts of the evolving incident.
Model-Based Predictions and
• Firefighters can use the outputs and predictions from models in two ways.
• In some cases, such as fire growth, the system can send outputs and predictions
directly to personnel at the fire ground.
• Should a model predict that the fire would spread into an area of a building that’s
known to store toxic compounds, the system could integrate that model with a
smoke generation model and a weather model to predict the likely impact on the
surrounding community.
• Then the IC could send that information directly to law enforcement agencies (to
plan for a potential evacuation) and local hospitals (to plan for potential victims).
• In most cases, however, model outputs and predictions drive a real-time 3D
visualization of the fire ground, equipment, and personnel.
• The IC uses this display to monitor the fire incident’s evolution and analyze the
potential impacts of decisions and actions before issuing any commands to
• (To enable progress, many standards must be developed; efforts are underway to
address many of these, but much work remains.