Anvil participates in HUSAR mock disaster
Toronto, Ont. -- April 7, 2005 -- Anvil participates in HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team) mock disaster at the Toronto Fire Department Training Facility and at Centennial College. Anvil was responsible for integrating the various wireless technologies and transmitting voice, video and data across its BreadCrumb wi-fi network via the Internet from the disaster site to the primary hospital and various authorized viewers in Canada and the US.
Some of the challenges in using technology in emergency management stem from understanding the needs of and the interplay between the various services and the different levels of incident command. Anvil has brought together a team of experts in emergency management and wireless technology with the objective of developing tools that will significantly improve situational awareness for incident commanders, first responders and other pertinent parties. Anvil's goal is to leverage technology to drive the following benefits:
- Save time
- Facilitate quicker, better decisions
- Save lives
- Save property
- Reduce impact on infrastructure
Mock disaster scenario at Bermondsey firefighter's training site in Toronto:
Over laden floor collapses during movie shoot resulting in numerous casualties. HUSAR sent in to extract casualties. First in are the "sniffer dogs" to locate casualties. HUSAR team follows, first building wooden framework to brace collapsing wall and staircase and then cutting through one foot thick concrete.
Casualties are located, triaged, treated and then transferred by ambulance to Centennial College (used as mock disaster hospital).
Anvil technology demonstrated during Toronto mock disaster:
BreadCrumb wi-fi network
A key component of the Emergency Management technology is the BreadCrumb network. The incident site was covered by a mobile, fully meshed wi-fi (802.11.b) network which connected back to another BreadCrumb located on the Bermondsey fire station, the latter being connected to the Internet. The wireless signal was able to penetrate the thick concrete walls in the collapsed building. The instantly deployable, battery/mains operated technology offers some of the highest levels of security currently available and is used by the US Armed Forces.
Static PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras were located externally and also in each of the rooms where there were casualties. In addition, an Anvil videographer carried a mobile wireless camera and transmitted "roaming" live video of the action taking place internally and externally. Authorized users at the Bermondsey demo tent, Centennial College and elsewhere in Canada and the US were able to view the action over the Internet, including being able to control the cameras' PTZ capability remotely. The video streamed concurrently from multiple cameras was demonstrated using wireless enabled tablets, laptops, PDA's and a 32" digital monitor. (Although not demonstrated, the video stream can also be transmitted to a cellular phone that has a built-in video screen.)
In addition to the live video from our cameras, we were also able to integrate into the array of images a satellite feed via the Internet of another camera streaming video from the incident site. An authorized user accessing the video feed could access all the images on a single screen or zoom in on a particular image.
Voice over IP
Demonstrated as an additional wireless capability offered to first responders. Could be used as an intercom or with full dial out capability via the Internet to the PSTN (land line or cellular network)
Anvil developed an application for the exercise that allowed the casualties to be RFID tagged in triage, the ID wirelessly scanned and together with the "triage input information" provided electronically to hospital registration, ensuring proper identification for medical and patient tracking purposes. (Note: We are also testing out wi-fi tags that will be introduced shortly).
TEDC (Technology Enabled Distance Counselling)
One of the primary weaknesses that came out of the December 2004 tsunami disaster in south-east Asia was the significant lack of onsite stress management counselling. Anvil has structured a team of medical professionals whose objective is to provide stress management counselling using Anvil's communications technology. This capability was successfully demonstrated by the "Anvil Emergency Services counselling team" working in conjunction with the medical staff at the Centennial College hospital site. The counsellors communicate with the patients (casualties) using live voice and video over the Internet.
Telematics (Automatic Vehicle Location)
To demonstrate the telematics, Anvil equipped one of the vehicles with the tracking technology. The progress of the vehicle from the Bermondsey incident site to the mock hospital at Centennial College was tracked over the Internet. The advantage of this technology is that it allows the user to know exactly where an ambulance (or other vehicle) is at all times, including knowing when the ambulance arrives at the hospital (a geo-zone can be established on the telematics application that pinpoints the location of the hospital and triggers off a warning at the hospital as soon as the vehicle enters the hospital zone). In addition, patient vital signs, RFID information and other pertinent information can be transmitted via the telematics wireless to the hospital whilst the ambulance is enroute.
Net integrator (Autonomic) server
A cornerstone of the Emergency Management technology demonstrated onsite was the Net Integrator autonomic server. It is a complete rapidly-deployable network server in-a-box (with a small form factor), providing printer and file sharing, e-mail, internet access, secure firewall, virus and intrusion protection, rapid recovery under any circumstances (2 minutes) in the event of a network failure, rapid data recovery and back-up, VPN, load sharing from multiple ISPs, etc. All voice, video and data feeds to and from the BreadCrumb network and via the Internet/satellite connection was managed by the Net Integrator