New system helps increase fire safety at risk

A team of researchers from the Institute of Systems Engineering and Computers, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) has developed a system that monitors vital signs of firefighters, helping to increase their safety in risk scenarios.

The technological equipment, which was presented today at the Fire Brigade of Albergaria-a-Velha, is based on two sensors that are placed in the firefighter to capture in real time vital signs, stress levels and fatigue, among others.

The system also allows collecting environmental data, such as temperature, toxic gases to which the firefighter is exposed, or brightness, as well as georeferenced location.

“This information is then passed on to a server and to a command medium which in this way can know exactly where the firefighter is, what variables he may be subject to, both environmental and physiological, and to try to best manage the team, “said researcher Duarte Dias.

Researchers say the use of this equipment can contribute to increasing the safety of firefighters, who are often at risk.

“There are international studies that show that 67% of fatalities that occur with firefighters are due to stress and strain problems. We with our system, what we are going to achieve is to anticipate the situation of physical bankruptcy and, in this way, try to increase the safety of the fireman, “said researcher Rui Rosas.

Albergaria Commander of the Firemen, José Valente, also has no doubts as to the importance of this equipment for the safety and profitability of the human resources that are in the theater of operations.

“All the information that we can obtain at each moment from each of the operatives is an added value not only to take the greatest possible profitability, but also to know what their weaknesses and potentialities are and to take more income from their intervention,” he said. the commander.

The equipment, which has been tested three years ago by Albergaria-a-Velha Firefighters in real situations, can still be used by other first responders, such as police and paramedics.

“We are at a very advanced stage in terms of validation of the solution from a technological point of view,” said Rui Rosas, adding that the system has more than 700 hours of data collection and analysis, in a real scenario.

Currently, the research team is looking for investors to launch a commercial solution, targeting mainly the North American market.

“The domestic market does not have a desired size from a commercial perspective and the most interesting market would be the North American market,” said Rui Rosas.

The research team travels in September to the United States where it will stay for two months, under an “acceleration program” with Carnegie Mellon / Portugal, to try to seek foreign investment for this solution.

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