Technology: Airborne technology paves the way for new era of fire fighting tactics
Cutting-edge airborne technology is revolutionising fire fighting in Orange County, US. The Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System or FIRIS for short, uses sensors and cameras to provide fire fighters with data to help them battle wildfires. Operators can send teams on the ground high definition and infrared images that tell fire fighters what areas of the fire to target. The technology also helps identify areas that need to be evacuated. Airborne Sensor Operator and retired Air Force Staff Sgt Jon Cambric said the technology gives fire departments the best shot at a successful mission.
“The more information you can give to decision makers, the better the decisions they make are,” Cambric said.
He’s been operating airborne technology for over a decade now. His work took him on multiple deployments to Iraq.
The airborne team’s Mission Cmdr Don Cockrum fought fires with Cal Fire for 32 years. He said the technology is a game changer. “When I was doing the job of an air tactical group supervisor, I wish this aircraft existed,” Cockrum said. “The information and the intelligence that it gathers and is able to provide in real-time is phenomenal.”
Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy is responsible for bringing the new technology to the county.
It’s revolutionised fire fighting, so much so that the California Fire Chiefs’ Association named him fire chief of the year. “I think we within the fire service have always looked at what are some of the things that technology can bring us that will not only make our jobs easier but will also make our decision making better,” Fennessy said.
Chief Fennessy said the FIRIS system has already streamlined the fire fighting process and saved lives in Orange and Los Angeles counties. “Now they have the ability to look on their phones and in the command centres to know where that fire is going to impact the community first,” Fennessy said.
Cambric said the job provides him with a sense of fulfilment, especially knowing that the work he is doing can save lives.
Source: Spectrum News 1