• First respondersSmall device alerts responders to changes to thermal conditions

    When firefighters rush into burning buildings, they know the thermal environment may change in a matter of seconds, exposing them to potentially lethal temperatures. Burn Saver is a body-worn technology that continuously monitors thermal conditions and warns firefighters when those conditions become threatening.

  • First responder technologyS&T seeking partners for first responder technology R&D

    DHS S&T said it was inviting industry, academia, laboratories, and the innovation community to submit white papers related to twelve first responder technology funding opportunities. S&T said that each of the twelve topic areas “represent technology needs identified by responders themselves, and we are seeking the best partners to turn these needs into solutions.”

  • Social media & disastersIn disasters, Twitter users with large networks get out-tweeted

    New study shows that when it comes to sharing emergency information during natural disasters, timing is everything. The study on Twitter use during hurricanes, floods and tornadoes offers potentially life-saving data about how information is disseminated in emergency situations, and by whom. Unlikely heroes often emerge in disasters, and the same is true on social media.

  • 911 callsIsrael’s Carbyne, RapidSOS partner to improve 911 calls

    By Naama Barak

    Dialing 911 in an emergency is something that we’ve all been instructed to do since childhood. And old-fashioned, simple dialing is what most of us are still doing, even in an age of far more sophisticated technology. Next-gen public safety tech company will provide call takers with more informative real-time data to help first responders locate and treat callers.

  • SensorsKeeping first responders, high-risk workers safer

    Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen.

  • SensorsSmart sensor to enhance emergency communications

    First responders run toward danger; their jobs require it. Often, their only connection to the outside world during these rescue missions is their colleagues at the command centers who coordinate the rescue effort. with the ubiquity of IoT devices now, first responders have access to a vast, timely, and smart network of connections to the outside world.

  • DisastersDealing with disaster

    By Peter Reuell

    It took less than 90 minutes before students in Miaki Ishii’s first-year seminar started to talk openly about revolt. The unrest, however, wasn’t due to any political issue currently making headlines, but to a small room in Harvard’s Geological Museum and a handful of their classmates. The students took part in a role-playing game that saw them acting as citizens of the island of Montserrat, the tiny country’s government, and a group of scientists monitoring the island’s volcano. Why revolt? Because the students soon grew skeptical of the government’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to pressing environmental concerns.

  • Search & rescueBasic safety measures will save lives in tunnels

    What has to happen to facilitate more effective rescues from tunnel fires? Researchers have been investigating how eighty research subjects wearing VR glasses reacted in a virtual tunnel fire. Their conclusion is that basic measures can save lives.

  • Search & rescueAutonomous drones can help search and rescue after disasters

    By Vijayan Asari

    When disasters happen – whether a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake, or a human-caused one like a mass shooting or bombing – it can be extremely dangerous to send first responders in, even though there are people who badly need help. Drones are useful, and are helping in the recovery after the deadly Alabama tornadoes, but most require individual pilots, who fly the unmanned aircraft by remote control. Autonomous drones could cover more ground more quickly, but would only be more effective if they were able on their own to help rescuers identify people in need.

  • ResilienceKeeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.

  • ResilienceUsing data utilization to augment community resilience, disaster response

    A civil engineering who researches resilience against extreme events and natural hazards is responding to lessons learned from California’s deadly Camp Fire by outlining how to utilize the power of data to improve disaster response and minimize economic loss and human harm in similar events.

  • First responseVitalTag to give vital information in mass casualty incidents

    When mass casualty incidents occur — shootings, earthquakes, multiple car pile ups — first responders can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims. When every second counts, monitoring all the victims in a chaotic situation can be difficult. Researchers developed a stick-on sensor that measures and tracks a patient’s vital signs to help first responders quickly triage, treat and transport the injured.

  • Search & rescueFoldable drone flies through narrow passages in rescue missions

    Researchers have developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

  • Nuclear accidentsResponders provide technical expertise in case of nuclear weapons accidents

    Decades ago, technical experts from the national labs responded in an ad hoc manner to accidents involving nuclear weapons, called “broken arrows.” Thirty-two such accidents have occurred since the 1950s, so the Accident Response Group at Sandia Lab was created about five decades ago to provide technical expertise in assessing and safely resolving nuclear weapons accidents.

  • Water securityIsraeli device that extracts water from the air helps California firefighters quench thirst

    By Abigail Klein Leichman

    An emergency response vehicle (ERV) carrying an innovative Israeli machine that pulls drinking water out of ambient air is on its way to California to provide hydration to police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of two massive wildfires that have taken at least eighty-seven lives.