How Technology can empower fire-fighting

From communication to healthcare to education to every possible profession and industry is being dotted with evolving technology making the future, presumably, easier and convenient. Fire-fighting, one of the most dangerous professions is also constantly evolving with various technological innovations permeating into firefighting. With automation and increasing infrastructure, fire hazards have become even more complex causing rapid spreading of fire and collapse of behemoth structures in no time. This is forcing fire-fighters to think on their toes and act as quickly as possible. Situations like this call for innovative technological intervention to make fire-fighting more effective and safe.

Here are some new interesting technological innovations which can have tremendous impact on fire-fighting:

  • Early detection using Satellites: The notorious devastating California fire in 2018 pushed the issue of early detection of fire to the forefront.  Researchers and other agencies are exploring artificial intelligence to monitor fires propagation and behaviours. According to a report by Fast company, – “Already, two NASA satellites currently orbiting the Earth scan nearly the entire planet once a day and can spot the thermal signature of a fire. The process takes at least three hours, which is about the time it takes for the satellites to cross over Goddard Space Flight Center outside of Washington, D.C., beam down the data, and run the images through a supercomputer. But an algorithm could be run on the satellites and process images in a matter of minutes”
  • Use of robotic devices: Sometimes fire situation is hazardous in a way that it produces toxic fumes that renders the operation of fire-fighting even more complicated than it already is. In such situations, use of robotic devices with minimal manpower in the field can be explored. The robots assisting fire-fighters can be used to inspect the affected area, especially areas where it is improbable for humans to easily enter and move automatically navigating through hurdles. It can take pictures of the fire and communicate with the control room for live monitoring. Most of fire-fighting robots are controlled remotely, their range limited mainly by the length fire hose which supplies the water to monitors on the robot.
  • Extinguishing flames without use of water: Scientists have developed an electrical wave blaster to extinguish fire. A report in Popular Science mentions,” The researchers’ setup involves connecting a 600-watt amplifier to a kind of wand that directs the electrical current into a beam. The researchers then created an open flame about a foot high. From a distance, the wand was able to snuff out the flame entirely over and over again.”  This is of course still in the development phase and needs various layers of refinement but innovations like this are the need of the hour considering the water crisis this world is facing.