Smart garment to save firefighters

17 December 2008
Few events are as dangerous as large-scale fires. Apart from the threat to their lives from choking smoke, intense heat and roaring flames, it is easy for firefighters to lose contact with each other. However, this is about to change, thanks to a revolutionary new I-Garment designed with the help of space technology.
Funded by the ESA ARTES programme, the Portuguese company YDreams has successfully developed a 'smart' suit for firefighters. This suit provides information about the health status and position of the firefighter to the team leader and the coordination centre via a communication chain.
Outer jacket and trousers
Outer jacket and trousers
The garment communicates via WiFi or radio link with the fire vehicle nearby, which itself communicates via satellite with the coordination centre which can be far away. Assuming that all firefighters are equipped with such a suit, the coordination centre will know the exact location and health status of all of its firefighters. With this communication system, the centre can coordinate the work of the fighters by sending commands back to the team leader in the truck

In addition to providing full body protection, the garment is equipped with a Global Positioning System to pinpoint the location of the wearer. This means that each firefighter can be located during an emergency. The I-Garment is also fitted with body sensors, which continuously monitor the firefighter's state of health (body temperature and heartbeat), as well as his or her body position (horizontal or vertical). This information enables the coordination centre to initiate activities necessary to rescue endangered firefighters.

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