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Digital and Innovative Technologies for Security and Efficiency of First Responders operation

Final Report Summary - DITSEF (Digital and Innovative Technologies for Security and Efficiency of First Responders operation)

Executive Summary:
When a natural or man-made disaster strikes a particular area, very often emergency services and communications also get hit, hampering rescue and recovery efforts significantly. In cases where the infrastructure is damaged, first responders must have efficient and ongoing communications with control centres to ensure optimal response and to minimise trauma. This was the aim of the EU-funded project 'Digital and innovative technologies for security and efficiency of first responders operation' (Ditsef).

The project worked on supporting first responders through a network of sensors, localisation and communication systems, particularly in the event of large fires. Sensor technology can help warn against hazards such as gases and toxic chemicals, as well as assist in low-visibility scenarios. This can then be enhanced through indoor localisation network, improved radio data transmission and human-machine interface technology to improve efficiency and security of first responders.

After several workshops and laboratory experiments, the project team completed the proposed security solution and tested it in two different settings, namely a chemical plant and a large hotel area. The technology integrates the latest in indoor localisation, wireless communication, human interfaces, sensor equipment and radar technology, and other key innovations, appreciably facilitating data exchange with higher command levels.

All these technologies have been integrated into an easy-to-use wearable system for every first responder, offering a highly informative open channel to command and control centres. This security solution will be especially useful for European fire brigades and other emergency authorities, enabling quick response times in disaster situations. The project represents another success in boosting technology related to safety and security across the EU.
Project Context and Objectives:
One of the main problems of the First Responders (FR) (fire fighters, police, etc.) in case of crisis occurring at critical infrastructures is the availability of relevant information for the First Responder level and for the local manager. The loss of communications and location, the lack of information concerning the environment (temperature, hazardous gases, etc.) and the poor efficiency of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) on the first responder side are the main current drawbacks. Therefore, during the intervention there is a gap between the First Responders’ situation (positioning, health, etc.) and the overall overview at their mobile headquarter.

This project is supported by the FP7 EU Security Research for an amount of 2.8 million Euros.
Key Dates: Starting at 1st of January, 2010. Duration : 39 months
Partners : Ten partners from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italie, & Netherland
Coordinator : Sagem Defense Securité

Expected results
The DITSEF project focuses on the necessary technologies that will allow an enhanced intervention characterised by the terms faster, more efficient and safer. In that respect, the solutions foreseen by the DITSEF project are:
• Communication: DITSEF will enhance the communication between the First Responders on the field and between the units and their HQ by providing self-organising, robust ad-hoc communication where the existing infrastructure may be compromised;
• Positioning: The provision of accurate 3D positioning in indoor environments is exceptionally difficult for current techniques. Therefore, the DITSEF project will investigate and implement novel techniques, which will take into consideration the operational environment and the end-users’ needs;
• Sensors: It is of vital importance that, for an operation, the First Responders be equipped with sensors that offer a reliable overview of the situation and of the potential threats (CBRN, fire, etc.), in order to provide more accurate situation awareness and enhanced decision making;
• Human Machine Interface: the HMI provided by DITSEF will play an important role in reading, sending and continuity of real-time information.

The aim of the project has been to propose to integrate these technologies in some integrated system through some scenarios validated by the end users.
These new technologies had to respond to the end users needs by bringing them some help in their work.

DITSEF has been provided :
• Self-organising, robust ad-hoc communication where the existing infrastructure may be compromised, allowing communication between First Responders and between them and their command level;
• Accurate novel 3D positioning in indoor environments;
• Sensors that offer a reliable overview of the situation and of the potential threats (explosives, chemicals, fire, etc.);
• Enhanced vision for the First Responder in visually-impaired conditions, through ingenious and unprecedented HMIs consisting of sensor-based visual elements, showing spatial features and thermal imagery overlaid on the direct perception of the First Responder.

DITSEF has been implemented by a strong partnership of 10 partners including SMEs and large industries, research centres, technology providers, system integrators and end-users.

Project Objectives
DITSEF aims at increasing the effectiveness and safety of First Responders by optimal information gathering and sharing with their higher command levels.

Ditsef project is organised in 7 Sub Projects and 5 worshops.
Each subprojects is relative to the technical effort lines (Communications & localisation – WP400, Sensors – WP500, HMI – WP600), the project management – WP100, the management of the WS and the End-Users Involvement – WP200, the system definition – WP300, and the final demonstration through outdoor trials – WP700.

Contacts between DITSEF work team and End-Users are intended through five Workshops :
o First Workshop: The first workshop has been dedicated to the common and usual scenarios which drive for a FR interventions (analysis of potential threats, typical emergency operations with definition of role of FR according their defined missions).
End-user inputs: Presentation of some typical infrastructures (arrangement of the buildings, legal constraints, emergency measures) and of typical intervention of FR
o Second Workshop: Discussion and analysis of the technical and functional requirement issues.
End-user inputs: Classification of expected functional requirements in line with defined scenarios
o Third Workshop: Presentation by the consortium of the selected technologies (innovated and/or improved) and analysis by End-Users.
End-user inputs: Analysis and Classification of the most valuable future technical solutions proposed by R&D
o Fourth Workshop: Presentation of innovative results proposed by R&D in line with the End-users support.
End-user inputs: analyse and comments with the R&D team of the proposed solutions and first view on the integration in a systemic approach.
o Fifth Workshop: Demonstration on site with concrete FR evolving in concrete site and scenario.
End-users inputs: Discussion on future needs and research plan experimentation and demonstration program.

The Ditsef solution has been defined by analysis of End-Users requirements and some functionnal system architecture studies. The system demonstrator has been tested in two different settings, namely a chemical plant and a large hotel area.
The following figures present the Ditsef system ; Figure 1 below here below shows a close-up of the mannequin head, with the infra-red camera (orange, on the left side of the head), the head-mount display (in front of the left eye), the head orientation sensor (orange, on top of the helmet), the push-to-talk button for voice communication (blue, in front of the left shoulder), and CEA's positioning tag (grey, behind the left shoulder, partially visible; only the long green antenna is totally visible).
Figure 2 below shows a close-up of the mannequin chest with the chest box and gives evidence of the breathing grid for the gas sensors (on the left of the "DITSEF" writing on the chest box), the command box of the head-mount display (above the oxygen pressure meter), the ergonomic switches (on the left arm, kept there by a rubber band) and the PMR (on the bottom).

Figure 1 - Close-up of the mannequin head (See Attached File)
Figure 2 - Close-up of the mannequin chest (See Attached File)

A rescue has been operated by 5 FRs in the chemical plant. Figure 3 and Figure 4 below show the Field Commander fully dressed, just before the rescue (front view and rear view).

Figure 3 - Field Commander (front view) (See Attached File)
Figure 4 - Field Commander (rear view) (See Attached File)

The execution of the demonstration was successful. The FR could move across the scenario and their positions were constantly tracked at the CC. The tabular presentation of data has allowed to detect the two hotspots of Carbon Monoxide. Thanks to the tracking of their positions from the CC, it was possible to spread the FRs efficiently across the scenario, so that the two victims have been found very soon. In addition, it has been possible to guide (using voice communication) more FRs to the place where a victim had been found, to help pull him out of there.
Project Results:
See Attached File
Potential Impact:
See Attached File
List of Websites: