Firefighters of the future: How wearable technology could save lives

Advances in technology are impacting on the way many industries operate and this is especially true for hazardous sectors such as fire. Here, Rebecca Woodhead, Product Manager EN SCBA, EMEA at Scott Safety discusses the trend for wearable technology and the latest innovations available.

The trend for wearable technologies has experienced rapid growth in recent years, both in industrial and consumer markets. Just think about the number of wearable ‘gadgets’ that enhance our daily lives, with everything from smart watches and glasses, to personal satellite navigation systems and monitoring devices that track physical activity.

Wearable technology by definition is a ‘wearable’ that incorporates computer or advanced technologies with practical functions or features. In computer science, this is also known as Ubiquitous Computing, meaning computing can be made to appear using any device, location or format.

What does this mean for the firefighting industry? Well, ultimately, the aim is that this type of technology could be used to prevent injuries and save lives. Recent operational statistics for fire and rescue authorities in England1 for example, state that Firefighters sustained approximately 2,600 injuries during 2015/16, with approximately 1,050 sustained in operational incidents, and 49 classed as major injuries. With technology improving many other aspects of our lives then it makes sense that it should help reduce these numbers.

Of course, the firefighting industry has already adopted advanced technologies and equipment. The industry uses everything from location devices, thermal imaging cameras, real-time monitoring of teams, and even drones. However, there is always more to be done and here at Scott Safety, we have a deep commitment to the firefighting community throughout the world and are dedicated to developing innovative life-saving solutions. As part of this, we have a specialist ‘Firefighter of the Future’ team that is solely focused on harnessing the latest technology to benefit firefighters. The latest innovations to be developed by the team include wearable technology such as a UK firefighting industry first – Scott Sight.

Scott Sight is a ground-breaking hands-free thermal in-mask system that provides firefighters with a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings by keeping a thermal image in view at all times. The hands-free innovation integrates a lightweight thermal-imaging camera within the firefighter’s in mask display, enhancing situational intelligence. The system can also help to eradicate the need to stop searching or put the hose down to deploy a hand-held camera, while also improving firefighter hot-zone accountability.

Scott Sight is a sophisticated thermal imaging tool that supplements existing hand-held technology by offering the wearer hands-free visibility in often inhospitable situations. This enables the wearer to stay focused on the fire, hazards and casualties while also providing the means to identify a secondary egress in the event of a sudden change of circumstances.

The powerful Scott Sight technology produces a 160×120 resolution through an infinity lens, for a clear picture without eye strain, and is lightweight for wearer comfort weighing just 240grams. Scott Sight is auto-dimming to protect against changing light conditions and is configurable to the user’s needs with adjustable view, user interface options, and temperature settings.

Scott Sight is compatible with the AV 3000HT Facepiece; a high performance positive pressure face piece manufactured using innovative materials that have been engineered to provide enhanced thermal durability and improved wearer safety. This combined with Scott Safety’s Propak-EZ-Flo, offers the ultimate protection in the most extreme conditions.

It’s these types of innovations that will continue to shape and evolve the fire industry and Scott Safety will remain committed to developing the ultimate safety solutions.

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International Fire Fighter is the leading global publication for municipal and industrial fire fighters and the fire and rescue industry.

The editorial features are written by industry experts and comprise a unique blend focussing on the latest technology, training methods and equipment as well as highlighting sector-specific issues from around the world.

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