This week the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in Washington about new technologies that can aid wildland firefighters. The Committee invited companies to describe new systems that can help firefighters communicate and improve their situational awareness. Legislation signed by the President in March requires the federal land management agencies to adopt within 6 to 24 months systems that can track in real time both the advancing edge of a wildfire and all of the firefighting resources working on the incident. Firefighters have been killed when these important facts about a dangerous fire were not known, due to smoke, darkness, or terrain.
In the video below we see interviews with the representatives of six companies describing their systems that may improve the situational awareness of firefighters.
Only three of the 20 Senators that are members of the committee attended the hearing, Cory Gardner (CO), Maria Cantwell (WA), and Martin Heinrich (NM). Approximately 20 Senators sent one or more members of their staff to observe.
In addition to the six companies that appear in the video, other organizations that had exhibits and made presentations in the hearing were the National Weather Service, Rave Mobile Safety, Vulcan Fire, and Simtable.