While a smoke detector can certainly provide you with an early warning
in the event of a house fire, it can't usually do much to help you get
out of the building once that fire is underway. That's why Toronto-based
startup Safety iQ developed the Saver. It's a portable device that
reportedly allows users to breathe safely in smoke-filled environments,
while also serving as a flashlight and alarm.
When firefighters need to enter smoke-filled buildings to conduct search or rescue, they frequently suffer from low visibility and often need to feel their way along walls or follow ropes reeled out by the lead firefighter. With a limited supply of oxygen carried by each firefighter, being slowed by the inability to see can severely limit their capacity to carry out duties in these environments. Now researchers from King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University have developed a robot assistant for firefighters that can help guide them through even the thickest smoke.
This week, the US Office of Naval Research released details regarding a demo of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR
) conducted last November. The robot, as its name implies, is designed to help human crews fight fires in the close confines of naval vessels. In order to get to those fires quicker, SAFFiR may ultimately receive some help itself from an autonomous drone, that was also part of the demonstration.
If there's one job that a person would probably prefer to lose to a robot, it would be fighting fires aboard ships. To help make such a vision a reality, the US Navy and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) released details of demonstration exercises conducted by their Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) aboard the fire training ship USS Shadwell last November.
When you're using helicopters to dump water on forest fires, it goes without saying that the faster you can obtain and deliver water from lakes or other sources, the better. Most currently-used systems are able to gather H2O at rates ranging from 1,700 to 4,000 liters (450 to 1,056 US gal) per minute, which is fairly impressive. A new system developed by Spanish firm Inventec, however, is claimed to be capable of sucking up 1,000 L (264 gal) in just five seconds
– that scales up to a rate of 12,000 L (3,170 gal) per minute. What's more, it's also said to be safer.
Last June, a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona overtook and killed 19 firefighters – even though they had set up fireproof shelters. This inspired Phoenix-based SunSeeker Enterprises to develop a shelter that's better able to withstand the high heat of forest fires. Utilizing a material licensed from NASA to protect the Space Shuttle on re-entry, the Fire Blanket is the result.
The traditional fire hydrant, that innocuous little cast metal tube with a hat, is one of those everyday objects that is so commonplace most people tend to overlook them. For over 100 years this life saving device has changed little in terms of design or functionality, but now an ex-fire fighter hopes to change all that with his next generation Spartan fire hydrant.
It's important for firefighters or members of disaster response crews to stay in touch with one another during operations, which is of course why they carry two-way radios. Researchers from Norway's SINTEF group, however, are developing a system that could help even more. It allows users to receive and read text messages hands-free, via their jackets.
Over the past couple of months, our attention has been caught by a couple of monstrous, land/water rescue machines in the form of the Ghe-O Rescue
and the ARGO XTI 8x8
. The CAMI Amphibious Responder makes three, and it is the largest, most powerful amphibious rescue machine of the bunch.