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Latest Firefighting Technologies That Benefit Firefighters

Latest Firefighting Technologies That Benefit Firefighters

May 8, 2024

A firefighter’s life looks heroic but is replete with danger. Often, people think that once they are out of their work site, there’s no danger. However, that isn’t true. The foam they use to diffuse fire is what causes the most harm because it has PFAS chemicals. This toxic foam is carcinogenic and causes severe health hazards.

Fire departments must look at ways to reduce this danger. Technology has always played a crucial role in firefighting to minimize health hazards. However, ‌firefighting departments might want to hold on to tradition and be slightly hesitant to adopt advanced firefighting technology.

According to Chief Marc Bashoor, there are ample reasons for firefighters to ride on the back step and make use of horse-drawn engines. He asserted that the latest technological advancements in fire service have enhanced responses and minimized unnecessary firefighter deaths.

Today, firefighters across the globe have filed legal complaints and are waiting for their AFFF lawsuit settlement amounts. While the settlement process is underway, fire stations must look at innovations to improve safety and streamline firefighter training. In this article, we will discuss the latest technological tools that can be of help to a firefighter.

Advanced Firefighting Technologies to Opt For

TorHoerman Law states that firefighters over the years have suffered from pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, colon cancer, high cholesterol levels, changes in liver enzymes, and many more chronic diseases. It’s because the PFAS chemicals stay in the environment and human body for years and cause damage. 

In September 2022, Wolverine Worldwide and 3M were asked to shell out $54 million as a settlement amount for a lawsuit involving people in Kent County.

While many AFFF manufacturers are urged to compensate for the loss that firefighters have undergone, it’s crucial to leverage the available technologies. The popular ones include:

Non-Toxic Firefighting Foam

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have developed fluorine-free, non-hazardous surfactant formulations to come up with firefighting foams. This foam is non-toxic and designed to combat dangerous fires, without harming human health and the environment. The conventional toxic foam has PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) that remain in the environment and cause health risks. 

On the other hand, eco-friendly foams make use of non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients. It means these foams get broken into harmless components as time passes, eliminating the burden on landfills, and minimizing waste. Furthermore, they can work seamlessly with the current devices at a fire station, hence, there’s no need for expensive equipment replacements.

Electric Fire Trucks

Even though such vehicles are common, it’s necessary to know the USP of an electric fire truck. Rosenbauer, an Austrian firm, developed this truck for $1.6 million. Even though it’s merely a concept, the North Vancouver Fire Department and others are looking at integrating this technology into their fleet.

The benefit of this truck is that it can drop or lift to four heights to accommodate fire or terrain crews. The vehicle comes with a compact exterior and very bright LED lights. The truck is silent when it’s in use and is considered being apt for urban regions where fire trucks usually make shorter trips. It reduces the need for daily visits to gas stations because it can be recharged once it reaches the fire station.

Smart Jackets

The health of firefighters at work should be protected. Close to 42% of fatalities occurred because of stress or overexertion. Hence, more fire departments are placing importance on the wellness, health, and fitness of firefighters.

Keeping this in mind, some companies are coming up with firefighter jackets that make use of advanced fire-resistant fabrics. They also integrate sensors and personnel tracking technology that effectively monitors the temperature, heart rate, and motion.

Not many of these smart jackets are available on the market yet. However, several technological tools can monitor the physical stressors that every firefighter faces during duty hours. As the firefighting technology progresses, these monitors ensure that firefighters are secure by notifying them about overexertion risks.

Advanced Biotelemetry

This technological tool offers know-how about a firefighter’s specific activity levels. It helps the managers to track how the interior crews are working. It is equipped with personnel monitoring and air management. That aside, the innovative biotelemetry will ensure that the responders are secure in an IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) scenario.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

The use of AR tools is commonplace in firefighting and rescue. Firefighters have thermal vision cameras that allow them to see through the fatal smoke and flames. But to use this device, one hand will always be occupied. To ensure that firefighters function in a hands-free manner, these cameras are connected to masks and helmets.

The latest AR helmets and masks allow them to see through the debris and smoke and enhance situational awareness. It is also being used for training firefighters to search for digital beacons in a room filled with smoke.

Furthermore, VR is also counted on in training departments. It enables the firefighters to get trained for real-life situations, for instance, the wilderness. It allows the fire departments to minimize environmental, economic, and human expenses. Since the fire departments are switching to online training, VR will help with live-fire training.

In conclusion, by incorporating the latest technological tools, fire stations can keep firefighters safe and streamline operations. Not every department will have the capacity for every technology that is available. However, it is necessary to stay tuned into the trends in fire technology and use the ones that enhance firefighter safety and readiness.