The new technology used by the Columbus Firefighters

The new technology used by the Columbus Firefighters

Four members of the Columbus Fire Department joined in the live trials of a groundbreaking new technology prototype to pinpoint the ideal 3D tracking apparatus that will be able to monitor firefighters during their duties.

In March, about 10 surveillance teams participated in the fourth testing phase at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County. Successful teams receive financial and business support to commercialize their solution.

Columbus Fire Department members participating in the live testing included firefighters Chris Moon, Seth Burton, Nikolas Zickler, and Justin Sims.

Unlike Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which provide a 2-D location with an accuracy of 3 to 15 meters, the First Responder’s Smart Tracking Challenge is a 3-4/20/23 tracking technology that gives first responders an accuracy of up to 1 meter under internal conditions offer said Captain Mike Wilson, Spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.

Columbus firefighters assisted opposing teams by performing a series of scenarios that mimicked firefighters on the ground in buildings of different sizes.

Each firefighter had a prototype locator and had to pass through predetermined points in the building while participants monitored the firefighters’ movements and location in real-time.

The importance of this new technology

Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay spoke to contest organizers and participants about the new technology’s benefits to first responders’ safety. “As the incident commander, holding our firefighters accountable is a top priority. Accountability is especially important when searches are underway or when a firefighter goes missing or is killed, leading to a so-called “mayday.” Seeing exactly where our firefighters are in the home or office is a huge plus,” he said.

The Emergency Technology Innovation Lab at Indiana University’s Ubiquitous Technological Institute hosts this project. It will receive funding from an $8 million collaborative agreement from the Public Safety Communications Research Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The contest will have a total prize pool of $5.6 million.

Moreover, Lay said he hopes the Columbus Fire Department will participate in the fifth phase of expanded live testing, scheduled for October this year.