When first responders are on their way to an emergency, nothing is more important than information, because data learned in advance can save time and lives.
Critical information can tell first reponders if the the road ahead is clear, the size of the building on fire, if people are inside, and what kind of fire suppression system exists in the building.
With smart infrastructure enabling the new world of smart mobility, EMTs could have access to this information, and much more. They’ll also need to be trained to use new tools to gather this potentially life-saving data. That’s why a number of companies, including Lear Corp., have helped install an array of new sensor technology into the Combined Regional Emergency Services Training (CREST) mini-city at Oakland Community College.
Running the show is Elaina Farnsworth, thought leader in the autonomous and intelligent transportation industry, and Mobile Comply CEO, says the sensors should be in place by this spring, allowing first responder trainees to test them in a real-world environment. Some of the connections will run through traffic lights, and some radios will be equipped with DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) devices to see if the safety messaging channel can be more effective.
“It really allows us to be very clear and targeted around new technologies that could aid and help these emergency responders in a controlled environment,” Farnsworth says.
Mobile Comply was founded in 2010 to provide education and certification work for professionals who wanted to get into connected technology. She says the CREST project is the perfect next step in both educating the next generation of first responders and testing the sensors.
“We started talking about how nice it would be if we could have a conglomerate of different companies that would contribute something to be able to start training our emergency responders how to use some of these connected vehicle technologies,” she says. “How can it make their jobs easier? How can it make saving lives faster?
Eventually, she hopes to incorporate drone technology, too, into the array of sensors getting real-time data from the scene of an emergency.
Douglas Smith, executive director for workforce development at Oakland Community College, says Lear has placed the sensors in the buildings and testing will wait until the weather clears up in the springtime. From there, they’ll develop training modules for emergency workers.