One company’s solution to tracking firefighting resources in real time

Firefighting agencies that are uncomfortable sending wildland firefighters into dangerous areas without knowing in real time exactly where they are in relation to the flaming front of the fire now have more choices about how to avoid this dangerous practice that has contributed to the deaths of more than two dozen firefighters.

This video by the Southern Rockies Fire Science Network describes a collaborative project between the City of Boulder, Colorado and PAR Government to work toward what we have called the Holy Grail of Firefighter Safety — knowing the real time location of personnel and the fire.

This and the efforts of other companies along the same lines are making it more difficult for firefighting agencies to find excuses for their failure to implement solutions similar to this. I’m looking at YOU, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Fish and Wildlife Service — as well as the state fire organizations that employ large numbers of wildland firefighters. Leadership is needed NOW to develop standards so that the tracking systems deployed are interoperable.

Articles on Wildfire Today tagged “holy grail“.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Daniel.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “One company’s solution to tracking firefighting resources in real time”

  1. It looks like they are developing a very good product. Integrating two-way radios into this “network” they have developed appears to be a very good step. We already have radio repeaters and two-way radios and tons of batteries and it would seem this equipment could be adapted to meet the needs of tracking resources. My hats off to them for leading the way. Some companies have already developed a radio with a GPS unit and why can’t we in the fire world have a tool like that?

    As you point out Bill, what are the Federal firefighting agencies doing about adopting a standard for equipment or software? The time to act is now.

  2. Good for Boulder Fire Department for looking into this new product. It may be up to the States and larger fire departments to lead the way into using these new products.

  3. Confederated establishments such as NWCG necessarily developed systems and procedures to help them function efficiently and effectively, but as these systems (committees and their products) grew and increased in complexity, they selectively favored change that was similar to previously accepted change. Potential changes that fall outside this sanctioned “field of vision” may seem invisible. Why consider a solution when the system has not identified a problem? Such is the limited evolution of a closed system. Despite firefighter safety being the stated #1 priority, there has been no open call for ways to make improvements in this area. I would not purport to know if the resource in this article is advantageous or not, but I am also not aware of an open process by which they can advance their premise.


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