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INEGI develops a system that analyzes in real time the health of firefighters during firefighting

22 November 2022
Subject to extreme conditions, in places of difficult access, firefighters face risky situations, which require extra care to ensure their safety in the theater of operations.

To facilitate their work, INEGI is developing a system to monitor the health status of firefighters, in real time, based on the analysis of the individual physiological response to operational conditions.

It is a set of sensors that are integrated into the firefighter's uniform to collect data such as heart rate, body temperature or geographic location. At the same time, this information is processed and analyzed through an online platform, and can be consulted on a computer or smartphone.

"In a firefighting scenario, for example, the system can generate alerts that indicate that a certain member of the corporation on the ground is in a state of extreme physical exhaustion, advising the commander to evacuate him", explains Mário Vaz, researcher responsible for the project at INEGI. These alerts are generated based on pre-established effort categories, which define the various levels of fatigue, and in accordance with normative parameters.

The prototype of the system, which is being developed with the support of several corporations in the Porto and Castelo Branco districts, is being subjected to laboratory and field tests, with simulated scenarios and firefighting situations, carried out by firefighters, from in order to guarantee its applicability in front of fire, in the most demanding occupational contexts.

"Currently, most commercial systems available are difficult to apply in a real context. The high cost and invasive procedures make them inappropriate and inaccessible", adds the researcher. The objective of INEGI's team is to create a simple and reliable solution, low cost, reproducible on a large scale, and capable of being applied in adverse environments.

INEGI will present the first prototype in a workshop taking place on the 10th of December, at the Pavilhão Multiusos de Oleiros, in Castelo Branco. Topics such as occupational exposure of firefighters in front of fire, incidence of occupational diseases and development of personal protective equipment to improve working conditions will also be addressed. The event will be attended by researchers and experts in the field, project partners, and also by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs. Participation is free, subject to registration.

The project «ActionSAFE - Wearable physiological monitoring system to monitor the general state of health of firefighters» is funded by FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology and ends at the end of this year.

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