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Burn-Saver Device


Firefighters oftentimes find themselves in situations where they are in danger of receiving burns to their bodies because the ambient temperature from a fire rises to an unsafe degree. This rise in temperature can be nearly instantaneous and can increase to a degree beyond the protective capabilities of the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the firefighters wear. Moreover, although advances in material engineering have increased the ability of gear to withstand very high temperatures, the increased insulation has also decreased the body’s ability to dispense internal heat as well as the firefighter’s awareness of external temperatures. This can increase the body’s core temperature to unsafe levels. This is particularly likely during rapid increases in critical situations. In addition, the structural integrity of the protective gear begins to degrade as temperatures rise, further endangering the firefighter.

Developing an early detection system that informs the firefighter of a rapid temperature rise, which might not be immediately evident inside the protective gear, would greatly benefit firefighter safety. Such a device should emit an audible, visual, or other recognizable alarm that warns the wearer of the presence of dangerous conditions. Ideally, the notification received by the firefighter in the critical incident situation will also be received simultaneously at the incident command center where the situation can be evaluated in real time resulting in decisions to withdraw or take other protective action. The device must be able to detect the changes as rapidly as possible and be an ultra-low power consumption device that is suitable for mobile electronics. The device, including the power source and all associated electronics, must be able to withstand high temperatures, high pressure water sources, and whatever other harsh environmental conditions that could be found in the vicinity of the critical incident. It is desirable that this power source be off when not in use to conserve battery power, but be ready to operate automatically when needed. The device needs to be manufactured with low thermally conductive materials, and should be of small size, shape, and weight. The device must be able to adhere to the helmet in a manner that will not interfere with the performance of the firefighter’s duty and so that the warning mechanism is recognized by the wearer. It must also be able to be certified to appropriate NFPA standards.

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