The new firefighter "smart" suit, produced by I-Garment, will help to remedy safety and communications problems during disaster relief.
Disaster relief, fires, floods, car accidents, and other unforseen incidents are just another day in the life of a firefighter. We've all seen the damage that these kind of disasters can cause, and the lives that they put at risk. Just look at the recent wild fires in Southern California, and the amount of damage to property and lives. Another example is 9/11, and if you recall, the cell phone networks were completely jammed in the New York City area on that day. This posed a problem for safety crews who rely on these networks for communication."Smart" suit cross section
The new "smart" suit has just recently received approval by the European Space Agency through various tests, including field tests involving fire situations. I-Garment claims that this suit will remedy three main problems during disaster relief:
1. The unavailability of communications channels.
2. The lack of information as to the whereabouts of the safety workers during emergency efforts.
3. The problem of trying to send graphical information (maps, satellite data) during an emergency that could help emergency teams to manage dangerous situations better.
Basically, this new "smart" suit will be used to monitor a rescue workers position and his/her vital signs via sensors strategically located on the suit.
"smart" suit infrastructure
Rescue workers who are lost or injured during a rescue effort will be able to be located by other rescue workers with the help of the "smart" suit. The information will be transferred via satellite technology to the headquarters of the particular department so that communication "jams" (like during 9/11) are avoided. The headquarters is able to communicate back to the workers at the disaster site via tablet PC or PDA. The suit is made of the latest lightweight materials so that it won't add a lot of weight to the safety worker's gear.
The "smart" suite will soon be in use by various safety departments in Europe. No word on whether it will make its way across the pond to the U.S. I'm sure that similar technology will soon be used by Fire Departments across the U.S. There is no doubt that this suit could be very useful. If we had this suit during 9/11, maybe we could have saved, or at least recovered, rescue workers who were buried in the rubble at the World Trade Center. GPS technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the public safety segment, and it will help to keep our men and women, who put their life on the line everyday, much safer.
Joe Eitel's Gadget Blog