Fire forecast technology could help rescue teams save lives

Nov 29, 2010

Fires in homes and offices could be tackled more efficiently using technology that predicts how a blaze will spread.

A new technique is able to feed data taken from located in burning buildings into computer models so that rescue services can predict how fires will spread.

The technology could save valuable time by giving several minutes of warning on how a will develop, helping them to contain the blaze and minimise its impact.

Simple sensors – incorporated into smoke alarms, room temperature sensors or CCTV cameras – can measure the temperature and height of a fire. Sophisticated computer models can then convert these into a forecast of the fire's dynamics.

This technology, known as Sensor Assisted Fire Fighting, has been developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. It allows real-time observation of a fire, with the forecast being constantly updated using information from the sensors. In the event of a significant change in conditions, such as a window breaking, sensor measurements enable the computational model to adapt the forecast.

The research, published in Fire Safety Journal, was partially funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board and the European Union.

Dr Guillermo Rein of the University's School of Engineering, who supervised the study, said: "Firefighters often have to follow their instincts when tackling a fire. This technology could give them the extra information they need to consider more options available in handling the emergency, and reduce lost opportunities or unnecessary risks, ultimately saving lives and minimising damage.

"However, further research focusing on making the simulation as realistic as possible will be needed before this technology can be put into practice."

Explore further: Gold rush an ecological disaster for Peruvian Amazon

Provided by University of Edinburgh

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Smart' Buildings to Guide Future First Responders

Nov 03, 2005

NIST researchers are studying how "intelligent" building systems can be used by firefighters, police and other first responders to accurately assess emergency conditions in real-time. One of the biggest problems faced by ...

ESA satellite assesses damage of Norway's largest fire

Jun 27, 2008

Following the extremely hot weather conditions hitting Europe, Norway experienced its biggest forest fire in the last half century earlier this month. Envisat satellite images were used in the fire's aftermath to get an overview ...

NIST Test Fans the Flames for High-Rise Fire Safety

Nov 22, 2006

Reseearchers from NIST, the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Housing Authority recently set controlled fires in an abandoned Chicago apartment building to test a new fire-fighting technique -- using ...

NASA develops new airplane fire sensor

Jul 20, 2005

NASA Wednesday announced the development of a new generation of fire detectors designed to significantly reduce the rate of false alarms aboard airliners.

Recommended for you

Gold rush an ecological disaster for Peruvian Amazon

46 minutes ago

A lush expanse of Amazon rainforest known as the "Mother of God" is steadily being destroyed in Peru, with the jungle giving way to mercury-filled tailing ponds used to extract the gold hidden underground.

Australia out of step with new climate momentum

2 hours ago

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who rose to power in large part by opposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, is finding his country isolated like never before on climate change as the U.S., China ...

Education is key to climate adaptation

17 hours ago

Given that some climate change is already unavoidable—as just confirmed by the new IPCC report—investing in empowerment through universal education should be an essential element in climate change adaptation ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.