I'm designing a dashboard for Incident Commanders to use for enhanced situational awareness during emergencies.
Fires spread rapidly, leaving victims with very little time to make phone calls, gather valuables or in some cases, exit the building. In as little as two minutes a fire can become life-threatening. Fire officers arrive as soon as they can and use standard operating procedures to effectively manage the incident scene, save lives and extinguish the fire.
From my research, I understand that not all officers enter the burning structure. The incident commander waits on the outside, assesses the situation and delegates tasks to officers and arriving engines. Under the immediate pressure of the emergency, he is required to make reasonable decisions and determine the best strategy possible to overcome the fire.
Incident commanders rely heavily on radio communications to derive information that can be used to make these decisions. Fire conditions change rapidly and firefighters often face pressure to continuously relay information about these changing conditions to commanders while simultaneously performing other tasks such as carrying the hose-line to extinguish the fire and rescuing trapped victims.
By placing sensors in the equipment and gear worn by the firefighters, data about the health status, location and activities of the officers can be tracked. This information can be represented on the dashboard interface which commanders can then use to make informed decisions instead of solely replying on radio communications. Such an interface could also eliminate the need for firefighters to radio in problems or status updates, allowing them to simply focus on extinguishing the fire and saving lives.
Here are a few ideas I have on what the dashboard could offer. I'd love to hear feedback (especially from fire officers) on which of these elements would be great to have during the emergency and any other ideas this brings to mind.
Any feedback will be very appreciated! If you'd like to continue to send me feedback and stay involved in the project, please do let me know.