by Casey Grant, Fire Protection Research Foundation
The fire service and other emergency first responders are currently benefiting from enhanced-existing and newly-developed electronic technologies. Fire fighters are now operating in an ever increasing sensor rich environment that is creating vast amounts of potentially useful data. The “smart” fire fighter of tomorrow is envisioned as being able to fully exploit select data to perform work tasks in a highly effective and efficient manner.
Behind the advances of the new sensor and tool enhanced fire fighter of tomorrow are profound questions of what to do with this deluge of valuable information that comes with much of this equipment. The enormous amount of available data in our ever increasing sensor rich environment is changing our way of life. A popular descriptive phrase used in today’s common lexicon is “big data”, and it is indicative of the systematic use of the information being leveraged in ways that were unimaginable a short time ago. This is an area that is informed by the field of “cyber-physical systems”.
This project is focused on developing the research roadmap to clarify the research needed to most effectively use the immense quantity of available data, the computational power to compute and communicate that data, the knowledge base and algorithms to most effectively process the data, convert it into significant knowledge/beneficial decision tools, and effectively communicate the information to those who need it --- on the fire ground and elsewhere. This project is funded by NIST, and the research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Fire Protection Research Foundation in a collaborative agreement with NIST. The scheduled completion date for this project is the Fall of 2014.