“Smart” First Responders: Tools & Services to protect them and enhance operational tasks
The “smart” first responders concept is one of the key pillars of the INGENIOUS technical offering as part of its cost-effective, modular, and highly reliable Next Generation Integrated Toolkit (NGIT) for collaborative response, at the service of the first responders, enhancing their protection and augmenting their operational capacities.
With the “smart” first responders concept, a holistic enhancement of their basic elements like helmet, uniform, boots and K9 companions is used to increase their sensing capabilities, improve protection mechanism and give them a better situational awareness. This will allow them to upgrade an efficient collaborative and coordinated response, in combination with other parts of the NGIT such as the “Smart” devices in the air and on the ground, the Augmenting Common Operational Picture and the set of FR apps.
The First Responder of the future, as envisioned by the INGENIOUS project, will be armoured with state-of-the-art technological equipment as part of his or her uniform, boots and helmet in an integrated manner, facilitating seamless and resilient interconnectivity and boosting awareness.
Here the term “Smart FRs” refers to the collection of technological elements that first responders will be able to wear (e.g. helmet, boots, uniform) and/or use (e.g. the stand-alone portable gas sensing device or the K9 units) while performing their activities. All these elements are grouped in the following main components:
- Helmet: The helmet will provide visual information, voice communication, and position of FR.
- Uniform: Integrated in the textile as an autonomous hardware and processing wearable unit, it will manage the connection among the worn elements and remote services, manage the configuration needs and offer processing power for computing on the edge, while also connecting with additional sensors and wearable interfaces
- Boots: Thanks to their integrated sensors and data aggregation they will provide data related to activity, early warnings by asymmetric walking or distress condition.
- K9 Units: Supported by a vest worn by the K9 companion it will offer to the dog handler the ability to monitor the well-being of the dog, tracking their position, increase awareness and increase detection capabilities. Communications allow remote command to the dog and victim voice interaction
- Gas Sensor: An innovative gas sensor solution in the shape of a stand-alone, portable device that will measure the concentration of selected gases in the air and transmit the data to a central location where the information will be processed and sent to relevant destinations.
During the first months of INGENIOUS, the partners in charge of the “Smart” first responder concept have closely collaborated and discussed with both the End Users involved in the project as well as with the rest of technical partners, responsible for the other “smart” systems. The main benefit for this very first and early iterative action has been an early sharing of a common view of every system and component, its features and inter-dependencies, and the way all of them, individually and as a whole, will be able to comply with the requirements and scenarios set by End Users, also the way they will be tested and integrated in an incremental basis through LITs (lab-scale tests), SSTs (small-scale integrated tests) and FSXs (full-integrated tests).
From the technical point of view of the “smart” first responder concept, these initial months of the project have been focused on setting up the main guidelines and features of every subsystem, according to the first version of scenarios, requirements and technical architecture which have already been defined. An overall view of the requirements and needs for every subsystem of the “smart” first responder in terms of operation and ruggedization has already been collected.