Emergency responders in all roles must process information, make critical decisions, take appropriate actions, and communicate effectively with others around them in order to preserve the safety of firefighters. These activities must be accomplished under dynamic and dangerous conditions where time is of the essence, and rarely with complete situational awareness. When a high level of situational awareness is achieved, more informed decisions can be made, resulting in much more effective actions and better management of risks. The quality of situational awareness that exists throughout all levels of the emergency response hierarchy has a direct impact on the safety of individual firefighters.
Achieving situational awareness requires acquisition of knowledge of past events, an in-context understanding of present circumstances, and anticipation of future events. It also requires a high degree of communication and coordination up-and-down the chain of command, as well as between peers, whether the peers are individual firefighters, incident commanders, or cities within an operational area.
The key deliverable is a Fire Incident Command Board (FICB) through which the user can establish and maintain situational awareness utilizing a wide range of sensor and data streams from the field as well as existing centralized information systems such as CAD and GIS. The FICB prototype that will be delivered as a result of the project will be specifically targeted towards the needs of an incident commander. We anticipate that future efforts could expand upon the FICB prototype created during this project in order to provide FICB variants specific to needs of other users, e.g. planning and intelligence analysts in EOCs.