First-responder location tracking/vital monitoring system: software systems and user interface

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1 : software systems and user interface Group 46 CSE 442 University at Buffalo October 22,

2 Contents 1 Problem statement 3 2 Research and current solutions 3 3 Objectives, goals, and relevance to quality of life 4 4 Functional requirements 5 5 User profile and deployment environment 6 6 Future plans and expansions 7 2

3 1 Problem statement The leading cause of death amongst fire fighters on-scene is cardiac arrest. Though the technology required to monitor the location and vitals of first responders during a call has existed for years, no one has successfully integrated both functions into a single, easy-to-use system. Such a system would allow rapid response to rapidly changing conditions on scene, alerting necessary personnel to the impending peril of fellow first responders sooner than is currently possible. The system will also aid in determining the best course of action (i.e. nearest help, safest path, etc.) should problems arise. This is no trivial task, as it requires a highly reliable and easy-to-use system, both for first responders and their commanders alike. Such systems have been prototyped, but none satisfy all of our requirements together, and none provide the ability to see what each first responder sees, through the use of thermal imaging systems. As technology is always changing, a highly open and extensible software system is preferable, really a requirement. Groups 45 and 46 (ourselves) aim to create such of system. Group 45 is addressing how to collect data such as heart rate, body temperature, location, etc., while we are focusing on the software systems and user interfaces required for monitoring first responders in real time. 1 2 Research and current solutions Four prominent systems that are currently on the market or in development are discussed here: WASP system WASP is a very comprehensive vital monitoring/position tracking system, designed specifically for firefighters. It includes a shirt with built-in physiological monitors and a belt with TRX position tracking/mapping system. The TRX system works without GPS and builds a map of the scene as firefighters move about the building, in real time. 2 Motorola next generation fireground communications Motorola envisioned a high-tech firefighter suit, which is part of a prototype concept called Next Generation Fireground Communications. It incorporates a host of wearable technologies including a helmet-mounted camera, a heads-up display on the breathing mask, an environmental sensor, a wearable strap that monitors vital signs, indoor location tracking, and a rugged radio system. As far was we know, this system has not been constructed yet. 3 Physiological Health Assessment System for Emergency Responders (PHASER) This system was developed by UCLA under the U.S Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. The team has developed PHASER-net, that supports a low-cost, networked system for individualized emergency responder physiological monitoring and risk mitigation. It utilizes wireless physiological monitors and leverages low-cost, durable smartphone platforms via a PHASER-net app for secure data acquisition, processing, and interaction with the incident commanders. This data from the smartphones is then uploaded to a secure portal, where individual first responders can go view their own archived data. 4 1 Please see group 45 s website for more information: kga2/ 2 and

4 Geospatial Location Accountability and Navigation System (GLANSER) This system specializes in location tracking of first responders in varied environments (normal buildings, skyscrapers, collapsed buildings, subterranean structures, etc.) It provides a 2D/3D view of the building superimposed with the past and previous locations of the first responders, allowing an incident commander to track first responders and alert them of dangers in the path, or coordinate the rescue of survivors/first responders. The system is accurate up to 3 meters in non-gps environments and allows for audio 2-way communication. 5 Deficiencies of current solutions Some important features are missing from all of the current solutions, proposed or developed: Ability for camera feeds (thermal imaging) to be sent through to the incident commander Ability to overlay environmental data onto a map Interfaces that can be carried around on-scene by multiple officers Open standards and code, that allow for extensibility and helps future-proof the system Other relevant research A study published in Critical Care Medicine 6 discusses a method for predicting whether or not someone will have a heart attack up to 48 hours before it occurs. The study took place in a clinical setting, so it is not clear that this method would be nearly as accurate in an active environment - indeed, with rapid changes in heart rate during a fire rescue, it may be impossible to predict a heart attack very early on. But such a method as this might help us screen for heart failure before jumping into the fight. Furthermore, a study by John Hopkins University 7 on fire attacks among firefighters found that while on the surface it may seem obvious to people that because firefighters are exposed to extreme environments and high stress they suffer from cardiovascular failure, the study claims that heart attacks occur almost exclusively among susceptible firefighters with underlying heart disease. It goes on to add that firefighters with high levels of fatty plaque in blood vessels are most susceptible, and that some people with high levels of fatty plaque in their systems might face chest pain during activity, but some show no symptoms of underlying heart problem even during periods of high exertion. This study concludes that the key for prevention of such heart attacks is to identify those firefighters that are at risk to a cardiovascular event before they get to a fire. 3 Objectives, goals, and relevance to quality of life This project s main goal is to lessen the number of deaths suffered by firefighters during a fire rescue/supression call. According to the U.S. Fire Administrations (USFA) website, from the years , 304 firefighters died while working on scene at fires. Most of these fatal injuries occurred during structure fires and of those 304 deaths the top four causes of death were heart attack, asphyxiation, trauma, and burns. Though never fully preventable, these deaths could be lessened in number by better monitoring the first responders in the building and collecting more information about the environment they are in. Should an injury or other unexpected event occur, a tracking system would allow someone to guide other

5 members of the rescue team to the injured first responder. This system would result in increased synergy between the firefighters inside of the building and the commander outside of the building as the commander would have a better idea of what the conditions were like in the building, even going so far as to view what the firefighters were seeing, which would allow them to make more informed decisions concerning what actions the firefighters should take. In addition to this, with accurate vital readings and environmental data, the Safety Officer that is on scene would be able to make informed decisions concerning the health and wellbeing of their first responders, sometimes pulling them out of a building in just enough time to escape a heart attack or asphyxiation. Though this system cannot guarantee the safety of all first responders it has the potential to save many lives if implemented and used with care. 8 4 Functional requirements The functional requirements below are specific to the user interfaces and data handling software we desire - please see group 45 s document for requirements specific to monitoring/data-gathering hardware. Visualize in 3-space the past and present locations of all first responders on-scene. Visualize other points of interest such as the positions of doorways, stairwells, and survivors, as data concerning them becomes available. Manipulate this visualization in the following ways: Rotate fully about Z axis Rotate about X, Y axes reasonably, i.e. don t allow rotation under the visualization or across the top; top-down view is still desirable Translate along X, Y, Z directions, but not too far past points of interest Zoom in on any viewable location Lock visualization Lock specific operations, such as zoom, rotation about axis, etc. Reset visualization Visualize environmental data collected by first-responders as it becomes available, and allow quick access to the time-stamps on said data Visualize the thermal-images transmitted by each responder s thermal camera, and allow for enlarging specific feeds at will (potentially minimizing the map) Visualize the core vitals of each first-responder in a way that is clear and requires no searching for information Allow access to more specific information (history) on vitals, if need be Allow for marking a first responder as high-risk, and appropriately make this visible to the safety officer Alert the safety officer to rapid changes in the position of a first-responder 8 5

6 Alert the safety officer hazardous changes in environmental conditions near a first-responder, similar to above Alert the safety officer to hazardous changes in vital signs of a first-responder, similar to above Provide advice to monitor when an alert is raised, such as determining the nearest first-responder to the one in danger and/or showing the safest path out of the scene - the monitor should by no means be required to act upon such advice, and it should be presented unobtrusively User interface must be simple enough that officers with or without training can be hot-swapped in a pinch User interface should not have pop-up windows of any sort that overlay other information; the interface layout must remain fairly consistent during a scene regardless of alerts/input/etc. User interface/system must in general allow for rapid user interaction System should lag neither graphically nor computationally System must be mobile or have mobile interfaces that multiple officers could carry around System must be large enough that one need not squint to see it, yet small enough that setup is rapid (or not required) System should be resistant to water and physical damage System should use open standards and be easily extensible into the future (i.e. not a black box ). Allow easy drop-in, drop-out support for each first responder (tags are given to an officer before entering a scene - we would like to be able to start monitoring them in our system once this tag is recieved) Allow for data export/archiving/retrevial; to be added at a later time 5 User profile and deployment environment The monitoring system will primarily be used by two individuals on scene: the incident commander and the safety officer. The incident commander will be most interested in seeing: The 3D map with positions of first responders The infrared camera feeds from each first responder In contrast, the safety officer will be most interested in: The vital signs of each first responder The environmental conditions experienced by each first responder (air quality, temperature, etc.) We imagine two interfaces that would cater to each officer seperately, but that could be switch to/from at will (in case the incident commander needs to know air quality, for instance). The system will be deployed in an outdoor, active area for potentially long periods of time. As such the system, or interfaces to it, need to be mobile, and rugged against physical damage from impacts, water, 6

7 and fire. They will also need to have a long battery life (5 hours active use minimum). In reality, a method for charging these devices will need to be provided for longer calls. We also must consider the fact that, should things go ary on-call, people who have not been formally trained may be asked to monitor first responders. As such, the system should be easy enough to use that untrained personnel can use it at least at a basic level. 6 Future plans and expansions This system can be used without keeping a history of vital signs for each first responder from scene to scene. Such history would require data storage and maintenance which we are not currently interested in. However, it would be desirable to have such functionality be added to the system at a later date. In addition to this, considering the research on firefighter heart attacks being linked almost solely to heart disease and high cholestorol, we would like to be able to add data about the overall health of a first responder to the system at will, as well as mark any given first responder as high risk. The system should not decide who is high risk, as we will leave this judgement to their physicians. However, being able to track the overall physical health of first responders prior to sending them into a burning building will no doubt help us save lives. 7

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