Effective search & rescue operations are amongst the most promising means to reduce human casualties following collapse of buildings due to catastrophic events.
Time is critical for a successful rescue and the prompt availability of reliable information is vital. LOCCATEC could enhance significantly the effectiveness of the rescue management and operations, providing a quick survey tool to detect and locate trapped people.
It is based on small, low-cost capturing devices to be pre-installed in buildings.
Each capturing device, triggered by the event, records what happened in a given space during an eventual collapse.
This information is downloaded wirelessly to central units providing the rescuers with a rapid estimate as to the number of people present in each building space at the moment of the event, the structural state of ruins and eventual possible pathways.
1. Development of a prototype system, which would provide the rescue teams quickly and cost-effectively reliable information on:
a.The presence (or not) of people in each building space during a collapse;
b.The state of the ruins (possible pathways, structural integrity).The LOCCATEC prototype will be a fully functional pre-industrial prototype, including at least one central unit and a number of capturing devices, the functionality of which will be tested against the specified requirements;
2. Significant enhancement of the effectiveness of the rescue management and operations by providing a tool to perform a quick survey of the disaster site to detect and locate trapped people and plan the subsequent rescue operations in the quickest and most effective way.
As part of an overall emergency response system, it would allow personnel, equipment and information to be dispatched where it is most needed and assist in setting rescue priorities and planning the rescue effort quickly and efficiently.
LOCCATEC will be a prototype system aiming at promptly providing the rescuers with information on trapped people and the state of the ruins. It will be based on small, low-cost, autonomous capturing devices to be pre-installed in each building space. Each capturing device, adequately integrated and packaged so as to survive an eventual building collapse, triggered by the catastrophic event (e.g. earthquake), would record what happened in a given space just during the collapse. The rescue team, equipped with the LOCCATEC central unit, upon arriving at the vicinity of the collapsed building, would transmit a signal triggering the wireless download of the information stored in each capturing device. Image processing techniques could yield an estimate as to the number of people present in each space at the moment of the event. The rescue team would have a quick indication on the number of people trapped in each space and some information on the structural state and the possible pathways in the ruin.
Each capturing device will comprise: Optical sensor, FIFO non-volatile memory chip, IR illuminating LED, triggering device, wireless low-power communications and suitable back-up battery. Each central unit will comprise: Communication and localisation equipment to trigger, identify, download the captured information and locate the capturing devices as well as display and image processing capabilities. The LOCCATEC system will be open and flexible with various sensor and triggering options, according to the space and the environment. It can eventually serve as platform for other sensors, like a microphone, which would be activated by the signal that triggers the transmission of the capturing data and would provide the rescue teams with real-time acoustic information.
1) Requirements and specifications;
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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