Thread: Technology

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    Hey guys i saw this video that got posted on another forum and thought it was pretty neat. Its basically a device that runs on some kind of GPS that pinpoints the other units locations and relays them back to each other so you know where your buddies are. My first thought when seeing this was, that it could be used as an aid to a rit team. A firefighter goes down inside a building or needs help, with the added information given during the mayday and the use of one of these it would make it even easier to find someone in a timely manner. I could also see these coming into use for large area searches that involve multiple teams to spread out and search, they can see each other and where they are going. The device also has something else that i thought was pretty cool. It has a sort of panic button that you can push and will alert the other units that you are in trouble by lighting up your number on the others screens.
    I will admit that these things do have a few flaws. They have a certain range i would imagine (exactly what it is i dont know but its got a decent reach) and the fact that they only have up to 18 slots for other units making them useless if you have more than 18 people at once doing their thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Ide...layer_embedded
    Dont mind the video its geared toward airsoft/paintball use, but it does give a good overview of how the product works.

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    Scott already has the Pak Tracker.

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    I fail to see how anything that utilized GPS is going to do ANYTHING inside a building. I've never seen the Scott thing so I don't know what it does. But anything uses GPS for in-building location is pointless.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Worcester Polytechnical Institute has developed a system to track firefighters inside a building. The problem is, in its present form , it works in your typical 1 or 2 family woodframe, but not in a commercial/industrial setting.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    The Scott system is fairly simple. They build a 2.4 GHz transmitter into the pack that activates when the PASS is activated. The tracking receiver is basically just a directional antenna/receiver combo. It displays the serial number of the pack being tracked, along with a bar graph and audio tone correlating to signal strength. Nothing fancy, and is subject to issues like multipath reflections. Haven't gotten much hands on use yet, but surrounding departments have and it seems to work ok for them.

    I believe another pack manufacturer (can't remember which, maybe MSA?) has a similar system that uses ultrasound instead of RF.

    The neat part of the Scott system is that the 2.4 GHz radio they're putting in the packs is becoming the building blcok for an ad-hoc mesh network that they're using to relay status info such as air levels and PASS activation back to an IC/safety officer. That's an additional newer feature, but uses the same radio that the Pak-Tracker does.

    Firefighter tracking systems are an area of active research by various companies and universities. It's a tough problem though because of the RF multipath environment, lack of satellite view inside buildings, very tight accuracy requirements, and the fact that everything has to be field-deployable...you can't depend on building infrastructure to help you out since the power is likely to be shut down.

    Andy

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    GPS gets you close if you can hit The satellites. Metal roofs, Masonry, even steel trusses can raise hell with the reception. The worse the reception the less the GPS can pin point your Destination/location.

    Not to mention if the WAAS is disabled for any reason A GPS become a paper weight.
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Yes i totally understand the GPS signals being scewed by objects. Although the system works half by gps and half by radio signals that the units send to each other.

    "The MT1268 motion tracker from T-Cube is essentially a small, lightweight GPS device utilizing satellite technology to find its own position but then using UHF radio signaling to report its position to other motion trackers in the area. Since it uses free GPS signals, the use of this device does not require any subscription to any service and therefore does not cost anything to use. The active interface can connect with up to 10 unique users per channel with 20 available channels. The range of communications between two devices is half a kilometer."

    Although i could see it would be possible to implement a system in which a command truck or engine could have an antenna that sent signals out from its location to each individual unit operating on the fireground. At this point an IC could look at a big map of the location and see where each of his units were. Similarly they might be able to overlay maps of buildings taken during preplanning and could lay the dots over the map to show where each person was in relation to a building. Although i must admit all of this is starting to sound way to complicated.

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    Until GPS systems can figure how to tell your on the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th floor (or sub-floor) they will continue to need improvement.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    It is not possible to for any GPS device, even with WAAS, to triangulate your location inside a building. You can't get a lateral or vertical position that is useful enough for us. It is going to be show that you're "somewhere" in the vicinity of the building if you are lucky and I'm pretty sure thats nothing we don't already know. Useless useless useless. Don't waste your money or buy that advertising bull. GPS is for OUTDOOR use. I was never designed or intended to function inside a building. Given this, there is no way you'll ever get a map with blips for each firefighter in the building. You'd have a map with a bunch of random dots jumping all over the place like frogs.

    The system Pelican631 described is actually useful. Radio direction finding has potential to work. Essentially a homing beacon on your pack that handheld receivers can point to. The mesh network for status is also a great idea if it works. This will let you track someone down that you are actively moving through the building looking for. It can NOT and will not be able to give you a map with little blips for each firefighter. RDF can't do that with obstructions and buildings.
    Last edited by nmfire; 12-15-2009 at 09:33 AM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Until GPS systems can figure how to tell your on the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th floor (or sub-floor) they will continue to need improvement.
    Actually, it has uses in wildland fires, search and rescue, location of apparatus, and it will work for those on the outside of the structure. So it has plenty of uses, but like any tool we use, it won't solve all the problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Actually, it has uses in wildland fires, search and rescue, location of apparatus, and it will work for those on the outside of the structure. So it has plenty of uses, but like any tool we use, it won't solve all the problems.
    What does that have to do with interior firefighting and what floor a firefighter is on? Stop talking. You're an idiot.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Easy Gents lets keep it on topic, I would like to hear more about these systems.
    Last edited by Bushwhacker; 12-16-2009 at 02:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    What does that have to do with interior firefighting and what floor a firefighter is on? Stop talking. You're an idiot.
    This might come as a surprise to you, but us real firefighters do more than just fight interior. There is great potential for GPS use in its current state. And even on an interior search if you can narrow the search area to a particular area instead of the entire area you have gained an advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    This might come as a surprise to you, but us real firefighters do more than just fight interior. There is great potential for GPS use in its current state. And even on an interior search if you can narrow the search area to a particular area instead of the entire area you have gained an advantage.
    1. How would you know what real firefighters do?

    2. This thread is about use with interior firefighting, not vehicles and outdoor S&R. We've all been aware of that use for the last 15 years now.

    3. GPS will not narrow your search down to anything inside a building. It can't. But if you want to trust it for yourself, see if anyone here cares. The rest of us will do something useful.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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