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Australia Medicine Technology

Tiny Pill Relays Body Temperature of Firefighters In Real-time 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-in-the-pill dept.
pcritter writes "Australian firefighters are enlisting the help of tiny pill to battle fires. In a training exercise, 50 firefighters swallowed the LifeMonitor capsule which is equipped with a thermometer and a transmitter. The pill transmits data to a device worn on the chest, which also gathers data on heartbeat, respiration and skin temperature. This data is relayed in real-time, allowing better management of heat-stress during firefighting. Victoria's Country Fire Authority trialed this new mechanism when they found that the standard measurement of temperature by the ear was an ineffective indication of heat-stress. The pill is expelled naturally after two days."
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Tiny Pill Relays Body Temperature of Firefighters In Real-time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:10AM (#42624005)

    When I was a rookie I almost went down several times with heat exhaustion. Had other friends get cut off from their exit by a collapse during a training burn right after fire academy, fortunately only a few hand and neck burns which required skin grafts.
    An Aliens style readout next to the pumper engineers pannel with telem from firefighters and a IR helmet cam feed would save many lives.
    The greatest OTJ killer of firefighters is actually stress heart attacks, much of this stress is from overheating.

  • We have that kind of firefighting here as well, though different gear is worn. Typically thin gnomex overalls covering regular clothing is sufficient (helmet and gloves of course). That photo looks like structural firefighters attacking a brush fire -- probably a relatively small one or in a particularly dense area of population. You don't fight big forestry fires with water. You fight them with shovels (and where possible bulldozers) and back-fires. You use the shovel (or pulaski tool) to create a fire break around the fire. When a wild fire is said to be "50% contained" it means that they've been able to get a fire break around 50% of the fire. Usually, the fire itself will create its own break on the upwind side as it buns away from the wind, while the firefighters have to carve one out ahead of the fire and to the sides.
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:36AM (#42624855)

    Procedures is exactly what this is about. How long can a firefighter work before suffering the effects of heatstress is the question. Humans themselves are horrendous judges of their own health while under the influence of adrenaline. I remember one fire (industrial firefighting) where one of the guys was on cooling duties on surrounding equipment. The main fire took ages to get under control and the hoseteam on cooling duties suddenly had one guy just drop the hose and pass out. No warning, no requests for a break, just splat. He was incredibly red and we rushed him to hospital.

    Heat stress.

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