Since the beginning, technology has been used to fight fires. In fact, portable water pumps were found in the ruins of ancient Egypt. Bucket brigades gave way to electric pumps, and horse-drawn fire engines were replaced by ones with internal combustion engines. At each step along the way, firefighting got better and more lives were saved. Drones, robots, and other high-tech innovations can help firefighters do their jobs better.
More and more, firefighters will use new tools to help them, such as drones. Their long-range control systems, lightweight, and ability to fly on their own make them perfect for surveying harsh landscapes and dangerous places, like forest fires. They can give real-time information about high-risk fires that are changing, which helps fire departments send out tactical units successfully. The West Midlands Fire Service is already using drones with thermal imaging cameras to make their fire crews more aware of what’s going on, improve their safety, and cut down on wasted time.
I think drones will also be used to stop and put out fires, as well as find them. The Windracers’ SWARM project, which is part of the UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge, is already coordinating the use of multiple drones to drop water and chemicals on forest fires. Drones could also be used to help fight fires in skyscrapers by giving firefighters access to floors that may not have been safe to reach before. The technological revolution has opened the door to new safety options that give you the peace of mind that your whole crew is safe, that everyone on the scene is immediately notified and can respond, and that you are getting real-time information to help you make the right decisions. Safety isn’t just about the parts; it’s about how sure and ready the whole system is. MSA is the first company to improve firefighter safety by giving every firefighter on-the-scene F.A.S.T Technology, connectivity, and Edge Detection enhanced thermal imaging. Only with the MSA LUNAR and Fire Grid can you experience a safety network that gives you real-time visibility on the scene, making everyone safer and lowering the risk for everyone on and off the scene. With better ways to connect, know what’s going on, and keep an eye on things, the possibilities for firefighter safety are huge. In the end, not only will your investment be safe, but so will your firefighters’ safety and the safety of everyone else at a fire scene.
Technology for fighting fires is always getting better. When you already have strong, cutting-edge technologies in place, you can change quickly to meet new challenges. Our Thermite line of firefighting robots is still useful to firefighters all over the world because we keep pushing the limits of innovation, especially when there is a need to help people. The Thermite RS1, the first firefighting robot in the United States, was made because firefighters and first responders had to deal with so many problems on 9/11. This technology grew into the Thermite RS3, which has more modular parts and can be used for more than one mission. Then, we made the Thermite EV2, an all-electric firefighting robot, and its handheld controller. An electric-powered robot can move farther into dangerous, high-temperature environments than one with a gas-powered engine. There are no limits to the kinds of technology we’ll see in firefighting in the future, and I can say with certainty that the future is electric.