Terrorism, an increased number of active shooter incidents, and pandemics, alongside other issues and trends like urbanization and climate change all create an urgent need for first responders to be equipped and available to provide various types of emergency response at the drop of a hat—from stepping in during moments of sheer panic and terror, like they did during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, to providing relief to victims of a natural disaster, like they did during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
IoT Enhances First Response
Edward Chow, manager of the Civil Program Office at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology, says today’s first responders are faced with increasingly complex and dynamic situations, and it is vitally important that first-responder organizations be able to access data. “From everyday paramedics trying to respond to heart attack emergency calls to firefighters trying to save lives in a large-scale burning factories, IoT-connected devices could provide the realtime patient vital signs and lethal chemical gas information needed to save lives,” he says.
Under funding from the Dept. of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed AUDREY (Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis) technology for first responders. The AUDREY Hastings experiment, a cross-border U.S./Canada initiative designed to enhance future communication and decisionmaking for first responders, demonstrated how AI and situational awareness technologies could assist paramedics. As part of the experiment, Chow says: “The team demonstrated the AUDREY technology in firefighting, search and rescue, and paramedic scenarios, (and) is in the process of licensing the AUDREY technology to commercial companies for first-responder applications.”