The Center for Firefighter Safety Research and Development envisions a much different future for the fire service in terms of making use of technological advancements.
- High bandwidth communication systems with an Internet connection and the capability to download building maps, meteorological information, a map of the adjacent buildings with a description of their associated fire hazards.
- Communication capabilities between firefighters and incident commanders using microphones and speakers, along with physiological, temperature, gas velocity, smoke and chemicals concentration sensors, and the precise location of on-scene emergency personnel.
- Ultrasound equipment that maps building boundaries and areas surrounding each firefighter that can validate the building map and generate a virtual view of the emergency environment.
- Gas flow temperature and composition feedback from the building structure to anticipate possible local or generalized collapse of the structure.
- Fast-running fire modeling analyzes the continuous stream of data from the sensors to identify the fire location, its magnitude and growth rate.
- Integrated access to available resources which can receive instructions and access to data instantaneously.
- Archived computer data of incident details of operations for incident critiques, the development of virtual reality training, and fire investigations.
This is not a futuristic vision but rather a near-future possibility through adaptations of existing technologies. Research and development through the University of Maryland will provide firefighters with highly needed and useful technology at a reasonable cost.