New IoT solution saves firemen's lives

Apr 4, 2018

Each year, Falck and the Danish Emergency Management Agency respond to over 12,000 fires across the country. Every time they approach a burning building, they risk their lives to ensure the safety of others. T-Systems developed a t-shirt that, with help from IoT, will help keep our everyday heroes safe.
In recent years, terrible forest fires have raged across the world and, unfortunately, cost lives. Both civilians and firemen have been injured, and large areas have been evacuated due to fire damage. Although in Denmark we have been shielded from the devastating forest fires, we are not spared from building fires of varying extents. The worst ones have cost lives, partly because firemen have been unable to rescue the victims from burning buildings.

When the cloud ensures your survival

T-Systems is now doing something about it. In association with Teiimo (a German wearable technology company), T-Systems has produced a Connected T-shirt. The heat and perspiration-resistant t-shirt is worn under the uniform throughout the emergency response, and is connected to the cloud, which constantly receives data from the t-shirt. Among other things, this data includes the fireman’s heart rate, oxygen supply and a highly accurate GPS that, in addition to position, also monitors movement.
The t-shirt is packed with sensors that, using machine learning, can recognise the fireman’s usual movements, thus reflecting when those movements deviate from the norm. For example, if the fireman falls, something falls onto him, or if he is still for a long period of time, the sensors will detect it and send the data to an IoT platform in the cloud. A warning will alert the on-site commander, who can monitor the condition of the fireman's vital organs, heart rate, pulse, body temperature and oxygen uptake. If those values drop ​​too quickly, he can send help.

Still in the pipeline

With the Connected T-shirt, T-Systems once again join the ranks of companies using IoT in practice. The technology has long been predicted to make everyday life easier, and even if Connected T-shirts do not make firemen’s lives easier, it will certainly make their jobs much safer. To date, the system has only been tested by the fire department in Krefeld, near Düsseldorf in Germany. They are excited about the equipment, and with recommendations from them and other fire departments, it will hopefully be put into mass production soon.
"The Connected T-shirt originates from a programme that originally focused on the digitisation of the construction industry, but has since been developed and used in other industries as well - such as firefighting. Hopefully, the solution will digitise the fire service and be used to improve the safety of everyone who works in dangerous situations," says Thomas Barth, Programme Manager for Connected Things Integrator at T-Systems.

Digitisation of the fire service

Data sharing begins even before the firemen move. The associated IT system developed with the t-shirt is activated as soon as the emergency services receive a call. With a highly accurate GPS, it is possible to match the phone number to the address of the caller, so that the emergency dispatch centre can send the firemen out even faster than before. Once the address has been located, the emergency dispatch centre can also get floor plans and an estimated number of residents on the screen, which can be sent to the on-site commander.  
For the many firemen in Falck and the Danish Emergency Management Agency, implementation of the Connected T-Shirt could be a big step towards a secure digitisation of the two bodies, and therefore towards safer firefighting in the future.