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An Italian high-tech company in the aerospace sector has developed a fire-fighting management system integrating geospatial (satellite & GPS) data, weather data, existing alert networks, real-time communication and work-forces management.
Partners are searched for commercial agreement with technical assistance, able to promote and present the product, mainly to governmental bodies appointed to environmental protection.
The Italian company, proposing the fire-fighting management system, has been operating in the aerospace sector since year 2006. Collaborations and projects have been established and carried out with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Italian Space Agency, and many other institutional and academic partners. The company usually takes the role of coordinator in projects where other affiliated SMEs of the group are appointed to develop highly specialised tasks and sub-components, such as customised and portable software & hardware, system integration, top-level management & applications for complex systems.
In the last few years the company has widened its portfolio to non-aerospace projects, mainly in the environmental sector. In particular, the already developed skills were used for successful application for new goals. The technologies used for such projects includes: optical and radar (on earth) sensors and networks, satellite images, geospatial data, weather data, urban & soil maps, etc.
The present system has been specially designed and developed for the management of fire fighting in various contexts: from urban areas to wild environments.
Recent statistics on natural disasters show that the frequency of fire events, possibly climate-driven, is growing on a global basis. A decrease of the number of large fires is outweighed by an increase of surfaces burnt in severe wildfires. Such expanding impact (2016 Great Smoky Mountains, USA; 2017 Portugal and Northern Spain, 2018 California and Greece) needs nowadays an increasingly complex management of emergencies. Their evaluation and the planning of countermeasures should occur in tight time.
The system is mainly a telecommunication and satellite navigation service that will provide public/private/public-private companies operating in the field of fire-fighting, with the possibility of remotely controlling and real-time managing field operations, in order to improve workforce management and the usage of aerial and terrestrial vehicles. The service includes earth-observation based information and maps, the geographical early warning of fires, and the geographic prediction of short-term, fire and smoke evolution.
The proposed fire-fighting management system leverages on three main pillars
3. real time environment detection
taking into account all the available and necessary information for:
- estimates & forecasts of fire radiative power
- understanding the evolution of the fire front and anticipating actions
- evaluation of the need for timely evacuation of urbanised environments
- best management of field operation and of workforce (fire brigades).
Partners are searched for commercial agreement with technical assistance, able to promote and present the product mainly to governmental bodies dealing with environmental protection.
The potential customers are governmental institutions appointed for environmental conservation, monitoring and safety. Depending on the different country regulations they can be Ministries, Departments, Regions or their confederations, Forest Rangers Authorities, Fire Department Coordination Bodies, and so on. Whichever they are, it is always difficult for a private company to interface with administrations, which generally have to rely on tenders for the acquisition of services.
The main innovative aspects of the system are:
- operators localization on the field, in order to optimize fire-fighting activities and their coordination from the control room;
- continuous availability of geographic quasi-real-time location of fire sources in "bird’s-eye view", by seamless merging geographic space-borne information (from different sources and spectral ranges, with expected 5' to 15' time lapse refresh) together with ground-based real-time observations (coming from the fire brigades' operations room);
- availability of meteorological information on fire events (from nearby fixed stations and mobile stations);
- availability of real-time fire brigades' event information within the same decision support system.
The main expected advantages are:
- emergency operations are supported in a wide range of contexts: from urban to extra-urban environments
- national and regional parks can gain benefits from the adoption of such a system, both economically (better allocation of resources) and in more general terms (mitigation of fire events consequences and environmental damages). In Italy about 10% of the geographical extension is covered by National or natural parks. A similar figure also applies to other European Countries (France, United Kingdom, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia), so all of them could take advantages from the adoption of a similar system.
In more detail, advantages are expected, in economic terms, in these phases:
1. alert system optimization and consequent reduction of false alarms and unnecessary actions
2. overall coordination of the teams involved in the operations
3. geographic information on the disaster site easily available and updated
4. real-time tracking of operators for safe localisation and better management of their efforts
The reference market is very fragmented. The lack of competitors and the vastness of the potential market could be foreseen as advantages.
Type: public body or companies that should possess well established links with authorities, in order to raise awareness about the existence of emergency tools and their advantages for the environment, economic, and for people's safety.
Activity: fire-fighting management or, in general, satellite & GPS fields.
Role: acquisition of the technology, taking advantage of Italian company's support.