S&T showcases innovations at World Fire Congress during May campaign

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Honouring first responders in May

May is dedicated to honouring and celebrating first responders, beginning with the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony and National Police Week, and culminating with the 50th anniversary of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week.

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is recognising the critical work of emergency responders, acknowledging their sacrifices and advancing technology to enhance their safety and effectiveness.

As reported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, the inaugural World Fire Congress, hosted in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fallen Firefighter Association, brought together delegates from 56 nations and two multilateral organisations.

The event aimed to establish a global fire service leadership network.

Technology showcase at World Fire Congress

S&T showcased first responder technology at the World Fire Congress.

A memorial service for fallen firefighters included participation from FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell.

Discussions on emerging global fire challenges, such as structure fires, climate change impacts, and firefighter health and safety, were facilitated by S&T team members, guiding multilateral collaboration for the next two years.

Additionally, S&T hosted the World Fire Congress Technology Showcase, highlighting innovative solutions for global fire services.

The showcase featured mini panels on situational awareness during structure fires, building resilience against climate change, and improving firefighter health and safety.

Innovations for first responder safety

Several key innovations were presented at the technology showcase:

  • The C-THRU Real-Time Indoor Visualisation System, a helmet-mounted device, helps firefighters detect exit routes quickly in smoke-filled environments.
  • The wildland fire respirator offers significant protection for wildland firefighters, featuring a replaceable filter and a rechargeable battery.
  • The beta wildfire detection sensor technology, leveraging Artificial Intelligence, provides early warning capabilities to safeguard communities from wildfires.
  • It will be deployed across the Hawaiian Islands, with pilots expanding to Canada, California, Colorado, and Tennessee.
  • The POINTER geolocation tracking solution, developed in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, allows responders to pinpoint exact locations, including the specific floor in a building.
  • The H2Rescue truck, a hydrogen fuel cell/battery-powered disaster relief vehicle, can provide power for up to 72 hours without refuelling.

Continued collaboration and future developments

S&T said it is committed to ongoing collaboration with the USFA and the global fire service community.

Upcoming initiatives include a podcast series featuring the USFA and discussions on wildland wildfire sensors.

S&T is encouraging first responders and interested parties to visit their First Responders Capability web page for more information on support and advancements in technology.

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