Location-Based Services for High-Rise Fire and Rescue Situations



Andrews, Raweewan

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Technology has an important role in emergency response processes in the command center and in the field. Successful operations during emergency rest entirely on the level of success of information relay to allow timely decision-making process from the Incident Command (IC) level to the firefighter. Although it is one of the most important aspect of emergency response, it remains a challenge within the Fire-Rescue community. Communication during high hazard incident, is recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) during the 2013 research, as one of the interests for future research to improve communication and streamline accountability process; where communication is often profuse, interrupted, misunderstood, garbled, and chaotic.10 The most important aspect of communication during fire-rescue operation is to achieve personnel accountability. This is a key component of NFPA 1500: Standard for Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program. The main objectives for enforcing accountability as part of the national standard are to (i) identify individuals on scene, (ii) knowing the physical location of everyone operating on scene, and (iii) to be able to quickly account for the location and safety status for everyone on scene in the event of unexpected change in condition. At any moment during an emergency, firefighter could be injured, lost or killed. Personnel Accountability Systems (PAS) are vital to all emergency operations and the effectiveness of the systems is the difference between life and death. Based on 2016 FEMA report, fatality could have been reduced or prevented with improved accountability through personnel location identification tools.11 Technology to improve fireground accountability has been making significant progress. Known for popular use of asset management tracking and healthcare solution, Real Time Location Services (RTLS) will play a major role in fireground accountability process. Multiple types of technology relating to RTLS are available today with the design aiming for specific requirement. This research will identify technology best suited for high-rise fire and rescue situations. The research will provide baseline understanding of the national standard, published by the NFPA, and current policy and process practice at the City of Miami. Additionally, current technology on RTLS will be discussed with the focus of the requirements determine by the City of Miami Fire and Rescue interviews. Finally, the research will discuss on current technology of RTLS and the usage to enhance accountability technology in high-rise fire and rescue situations.



Indoor location services, High-rise fire, Accountability, Smartphone sensors, Bluetooth Low Energy, Beacons