Ever wonder what the fire service will look like 100 years from now? Think about it: One hundred years ago, there was no such thing as a smoke alarm (or a carbon monoxide alarm); there were no gas monitors, sprinkler systems, Jaws of Life, portable radios, automatic shut-off valves, LED lights, electric cord reels, etc. So, considering how far the fire service has come in 100 years, where will technology take it in the next century?
We scoured the Web in an attempt to answer that question. Here are some of the unique and innovative projects currently in the works or already in use that could revolutionize the business of firefighting:
- A relatively new technique called “Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting” feeds data taken from sensors located in burning buildings into computer models so that rescue services can predict how fires will spread: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129121113.htm
- Scientists have developed an “electrical wave blaster” that can “bend flames” and suppress or extinguish flames without the use of large amounts of water: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-03/future-firefighters-could-fight-fire-blasts-flame-bending-electricity
- In January 2011, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Melbourne, Australia) introduced a high-tech, remotely controlled aerial camera called the Cyberquad. This “quadrocopter” is capable of hovering above fires, detecting hotspots and sending real-time images back to a central control station: http://www.suasnews.com/2011/01/3597/melbourne-firefighters-deploy-quadrocopter/
- An aerial ladder-turned-escalator sounds almost ridiculous, but one man is dead set on making his vision a reality. Called the “hydraulic ladder,” it would draw rungs from a base unit as it extended: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-12/invention-month-easy-way
- The U.S. Forest Service’s “FireWatch” Cobra helicopter program improves firefighter safety during wildfires via aerial supervision, intelligence gathering and close-in tactical support platforms: http://ramblingchief.com/2010/07/05/u-s-forest-service-firewatch-helicopter-program-cutting-edge-wildfire-technology-improves-firefighter-safety/
- Engineers use corrugated cardboard to produce upward flame spread, which helps them predict how fire spreads in warehouses: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202172309.htm