Dublin based software technology company, Skytek, has successfully adapted its space developed iPV (International Procedural Viewer) technology for use by emergency personnel in Dublin Fire Brigade. iPV, which was developed to assist astronauts in controlling and managing emergency situations on board the International Space Station, will now be used to help combat accidents such as fires and road incidents in Dublin.
Over the past year, Skytek has worked with Dublin Fire Brigade to adapt the technology known as APEX (Advanced Procedure Executor) to provide emergency personnel with immediate access to disaster procedures and plans via a mobile computer. The mobile system will store key information such as hazardous chemical data as well as emergency evacuation plans and procedures for key sites such as hospitals, factories and hotels.
APEX will also provide key information on the potential hazards associated with vehicles. Due to the presence of explosives in airbags, high voltage batteries and other new hybrid car technologies, the removal of an injured person can be extremely hazardous to both emergency crews and victims and needs to be undertaken in a controlled manner. Knowing just where a vehicle can or cannot be cut apart is vital.
Emergency crews can now access and review key data on vehicle layouts, location of the nearest fire hydrants, floor plans etc all while on route to the scene of an accident or fire.
Richard Hedderman, Dublin Fire Brigade also added "Safety and speed are crucial in dealing with any emergency situation. By equipping our members with the latest technology we can avoid time delays and ensure that injured parties are getting the best possible care. We pre-plan emergency situations for dealing with major incidences in Hospitals, Hotels, Dublin Port Tunnel and other such locations. This system means that our fire fighters have access to key plans on their way to incidents and at the scene of accidents. Since every situation is different ranging from fires to chemical and biological hazards, it is important that those dealing with the situation have the correct procedures and information to hand. By electronically capturing the details of each accident site we will also have access to real time updated data to help build a complete picture of emergencies as they happen. The equipment that is currently on trial in North Strand and Swords has been very positively received."
Commenting on the trial Dr. Sarah Bourke, Skytek said "As with many innovations, this technology was originally developed for space missions where there is a need for controls, methodologies and procedures that are safe, accurate and secure. It shows how an Irish company can successfully undertake innovation at the highest level and then successful commercialise it in the International marketplace."
The project was partly funded by Enterprise Ireland and European Space Agency under its technology transfer to industry programme. Dr David Raitt, ESA said "This is an excellent example of how space technology can benefit society. This technology has been rigorously tested under extreme situations for reliability. By harnessing these developments huge leaps can be achieved in efficiency, safety and in saving lives."
Skytek (skytek.com) is a privately owned software development company located in Dublin.
Skytek developed core technology for the operation of European Space Agency's Columbus Module and its iPV technology has been in use on board the International Space Station (ISS) for the past three years. The technology is fundamental to operations as it stores, controls and manages all procedures relating to routine daily tasks and mission critical events such as space walks and emergency procedures.
The Dublin Fire Brigade is the largest fulltime brigade in the country with over 850 personnel. There are 12 full-time stations and 2 retained (on pager) stations these being located in north county Dublin at Skerries and Balbriggan.
Dublin Fire Brigade runs an Emergency Ambulance service as well as fire, rescue and emergency call taking for Dublin city and county. The Brigade covers all of Dublin city and county which is now a city of over a million people. Some of the high risks include Dublin Airport (category 9 airport) oil terminals in docklands, multitude of hospitals, chemical factories, universities and research departments.
About ESA & Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland (esa.int) is responsible for Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency and helps Irish companies and researchers to participate in its programmes and bid for ESA contracts.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its 18 Member States, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.