This week I went back to talk to the fireman I had interviewed earlier in the semester and I realized that we have been doing an amazing job when it comes to equipping our first responders. More and more tools are designed for them so they can be ready for anything. Why are we relying so much on them and not equipping the average citizen? Why are buildings not required to have tools like flashlights or breathing masks?
These are some of the tools that firemen carry with them nowadays:
PASS: The Personal Alert Safety System is is a small battery-powered box that has motion detectors attached all over it. If it does not detect any motion for 15-30 seconds it makes a sound to let the fireman know it is about to activate, if the fireman is ok and moves nothing happens, but if the fireman is trapped or in trouble, the device will emit a 95 decibel alarm to notify the other firefighters that one of them needs help.
Bunker Gear: Leather or rubber boots that go up to the knee and have steel-toes, gloves made of three-layers of Kevlar, which is fire and heat resistant, jacket and pants made from PPE.
Personal Self-rescue Rope: Used to lower people to safety, find their way out, hoist equipment at emergencies. Made out of nylon ropes, 3/8 of an inch thick and 40 feet long, they are stored in a pouch in the jacket pockets.
Thermal Imaging Camera
I think there is an opportunity to learn from some of these in terms of materials or uses and design something that is meant to be used by the people going through the evacuation.
I have started prototyping some of my ideas and will be posting them throughout the week.