Columbus firefighters take part in new locational technology test

Columbus firefighters are testing a new technology that will the tracking of rescue workers inside of a building.

According to the Columbus Fire Department, the testing of the new 3d tracking technology took place at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center late last month. It included 10 teams vying to get funding and entrepreneurial support for their tracking system. The system’s goal is to provide tracking of rescue workers within 3 feet of their actual location. That compares to accuracy of up to 50 feet for GPS technology, which only tracks on two-dimensional plane.

Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay attended the competition, saying that the technology could provide help when a firefighter becomes missing or is downed during an incident. He said “Being able to see precisely where our firefighters are located within a home or business is a great advantage.”

The Columbus firefighters completed exercises mimicking operations within buildings of various sizes. Each Firefighter was equipped with a prototype tracking device, which the teams attempted to track.

The competition is being led by the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University. Prize money will be awarded in each phase of the competition with a total of $5.6 million distributed through five phases. The fifth phase will be held in October and Lay said he hopes Columbus firefighters will be invited again to participate.

Members of the Columbus Fire Department that participated in the live testing included  Firefighters Seth Burton, Chris Moon, Justin Sims and Nikolas Zickler.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.