The use of drones and other live streaming video input for Fire management and its limitations

The use of drones and other live streaming video input for Fire management and its limitations

There is much talk about digital development and it's a thing that Bergen Fire Department has focused on the last couple of years One of the areas we have worked with is incident command support tools When we purchase new IT support tools it is important that we exercise critical thinking and that we ask ourselves the right questions before we implement new tools

One of the questions we asked ourselves was What is important? When the alarm goes and we are dispatched at 2:30 AM but your brain still remains in bed at the fire station though you arrive at the scene of an incident where everything is chaotic and you are more than employed carrying out and handling the incident then it’s important that the tools we use are both; simple, visual and if it's so logical that it's only the intuitive part of your brain that needs to work then we actually have a possibility to get the tools to work during an incident So, what does this gives us of benefits Here I could have mentioned a serie of bullet points but for emergency agencies there is only one thing important to us and that is; a common situational awareness this is an absolute must and if not established we will not work as efficient as needed When we implement digital tools We use of course lots of tools on the scene of an incident and these are just some of the tools; Cim, Locus, Bris, five live streaming channels, maps, smoke diver log We don't necessarily use all of the tools at each incident but we use minimum one or more during an incident but if we don't have the ability to combine the tools they won’t bring us any value That’s why we have tied all these tools together into one network this enables two-way communication for all units what you see at the bottom of the screen is a few of the live streaming video inputs we have We currently have five video channels in total and I will show you how they work later on in my presentation Our video channels stream one-way but the other systems communicate both ways Today we don't use our cross-agency radio network system (Nødnett) for this type of communication

Simply because it is not strong enough to carry the amount of data needed for video streaming Instead we use multiple 4G mobile operators for data communication which we aggregate into one strong network for better network coverage The benefit of this is that the emergency call centre in Bergen (110-central) which covers all Hordaland (area on the west coast of Norway) receives live images directly from incidents – same as you can see at the monitors here This image is from an incident where the emergency call centre receive an overview live from the incident this gives the emergency call centre significant value in order to support the first responders in the best way This image shows our staff and crisis unit function who also receives the same live images

here you can see three live streams on the monitors At the staff function we also use IT-tools that supports communication in the other direction this enables corporation between the incident commander, the emergency call centre and the staff function The staff function is scaled up as needed based on the size of the incident It can be 1-2 who manage and operate the staff & crisis function or as high as 8-10 persons Though at a smaller scale the same capabilities are in place at our fire and rescue boat but still the exactly same IT tools are installed on the rescue boat

which enables them to communicate both ways as well And then we have our Emergency Services Integrated Communications vehicle which is the tool we use onsite at the scene of an incident It’s in use during most incidents in our area of responsibility This vehicle has multiple functions Today I'm going to explain more in depth about the tools in our incident command vehicle On the scene of the incident we have status meetings In the vehicle we have status meetings during an incident it might be one or ten meetings dependent on the length, the scale and the complexity of the incident

we use this whiteboard for our meeting We hold regular meetings regularly during an incident where all team leaders and commanding officers are called in Meetings must be to the point – about 2-3 minutes before the leaders are sent back to manage their crews Then recalled after a while to see the effect and plan for the next steps going forward Before we begin, we announce a one minute meeting warning via the cross-agency radio network We do this for several reasons – there must be silence on the radio and the crew must avoid calling the leaders during meetings

and to inform those who naturally should participate in meeting to log in and follow the meeting via the streamed image from the whiteboard camera as seen in the top of this picture This means that both staff and others who are not in close proximity to the vehicle can follow the meeting live and participate in the same status meeting This means that everyone has the same situational awareness and we eliminate misunderstandings This has a high value for us The staff operator is responsible for ensuring that the necessary tools are ready and supporting the incident commander the staff operator thinks ahead of the situation and supply the incident commander with all relevant material and it’s often the visual information we are looking for

Here you see different monitors, in the lower right corner we have a real-time map of the water supply which shows operational information from Bergen Fire department We have CIM, which I come back to in a while We have the streaming channel and we have a smoke diver log The smoke diver log gives the team leader an overview of the divers location and how much air they have left this information is passed to the team leaders tablet on the site Here we have CIM, which is one of the tools we use most

Cim is a crisis management tool which is used many places in Norway but our version has been modified by one of our young fire firefighters who have a skill for programming This modification gives us the possibility to use the tool on the scene of the incident as well as at the staff function I can talk forever about this but I will today just highlight two things one is the main log we use in Cim which gives all units on scene the possibility to update their status and because the log is updated every minute all units have a real time status of what have been executed the other feature I want to point out is the situation plotting map which is displayed here

This picture is from the Turøy helicopter incident In CIM we can plot; maps, images and other digital material In addition, we have a toolbox, which consists of cars, boats, and other icons we may wish to draw on the map All those working on the incident can draw and plot in CIM, which again is updated every minute, so everyone gets the same situational awareness of the development of the incident and knows exactly how it looks in real time Earlier today, during the conference we talked about forest and wildfires

This picture is taken just outside Bergen this summer where we used our drone in cooperation with the helicopter pilots because he could not see where it burned in the woods Here we could direct the helicopter, via the thermal image, so that they could drop the water the right place there are no doubt that drone images or images in general gives us an important tool at the incident One example of this is from a very recent incident which most here have heard about Here we deployed our drone immediately when we arrived – this video is recorded later that day What I wanna show you with this video is that the staff functions at the command centre or at the crisis unit who are unable to see the scene of the incident get a fantastic situational awareness this enables us to support the first responders and the on scene personel get an actual overview of the incident so that those who are far from the place can better support the effort and We have also access to the Coast Guards surveillance aircrafts Their task is to support us with the complete danger delimitation overview but we also use them to give us a better overview of the total incident site All these different types of images, overall, provide a much better starting point for making decisions Now I'm going to show you how we use our live streaming platform and I will now shift to and open up our Incidentshare web platform

This is our incident sharing web platform for gathering and sharing all our video sources We have currently five channels in use and right now I have a few colleagues to support me with live video I have Sindre Wiers who is here in the room and is in charge of our drones at Bergen Fire Department I also have a colleague in Bergen and one in Sweden live with me right now So if we're lucky they are not despatched to an emergency right now Luckily enough I can see that I currently have two live incoming video streams shown with a flashing red light

This images is from our drone and shows live images from Bergen and you saw briefly the drone zoom capabilities this gives us especially in dangerous situations where we don't want to enter with the drone a good zoom tool from the drones camera Then we have a dome pan-tilt-zoom camera fitted on one of our ladders It's a 42 meters ladder (lift) which we have in Bergen and here you see the drone which just streamed live and now flies under the lift This image is from the fire station in Bergen And this is typical views we use during an incidents when we want an overview of the extent of the incident We simply get the ladder operator to elevate the lift when we wants an overview of the incident from the lift camera

Sindre, who is located at the back of this room will now remotely control the camera via the web interface He can turn the camera 360 degrees, zoom and this means that the ladder operator has nothing to do with the camera operation The camera is started and stopped remotely via the page here Another fantastic tool we use is our custom smartphone app for live streaming Here I can see the same video channels as I can on the webpage or I can choose to stream directly from the app So if I log in I can start a stream from my phone and most likely you will see some great people in a second So if my colleague Sindre clicks on the live app on the webpage you will see the live video from my smartphone directly from this auditorium

Sure, here we see a great crowd of people This app is something all incident commanders and team leaders have on their smartphone and it enables them to send live video when they land at the scene of incident so that everyone is updated Ups, I might need to stop the stream so That's the tool we use today for streaming, and when we talk about development, there's more to come The next feature we want to implement will give the 112 emergency centre the ability to send out a stream link or app to the person reporting the incident This will give the 110 alarm centre a much more clear understanding and overview of the incident and help them despatch the right level of resources

In this way, the notifier can stream directly to the emergency center, just as I demonstrated for you this is what we currently is working on and is on its way What we also have and something that I personally have worked with is Remote Operated Vehicles The company that we cooperate with in regards to ROVs is located in Sweden and has just presented a new drone actually one of the worlds largest quadcopter drones and here you can see from the live stream directly from Sweden via our secure app It’s a drone which can lift 1000 kilos this kind of technology gives us exciting new possibilities Today at the conference we’ve heard many interesting presentations, about power lines and how especially drones can make a difference with inspections and other areas and this UAV is developed by the same company, who stands behind the yellow ROV in the picture This means that the yellow ROV can be lifted by the drone, land on the sea and then lower the ROV down and through there carry out subsea inspections

but imagine that you mount the work arms that currently is mounted on the ROV and move them directly on to the drone -so the drone could carry out same operations and repairment task above sea as below The technology is here, so it will not be a problem to move well-known technology into new areas of operation That way we will be able to use the drone and its two arms to work with Again, this is not future technology, but well-proven technology, integrating it into the drone instead of the ROV this drone was presented for the first time in October 2018 in Sweden its 6×6 meter, weight is about 200 kg (440 pounds) and the drone can be scaled up or down depending on your needs

the scalability goes for both the ROV and the drone and is unique for this company As you can imagine there has been a huge interest for this specific drone Time will tell how or if we as a fire department can use this technology for emergency service but we currently see a massive development and we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg going forward Bergen fire department will definitely continue our development with drones and other digital solutions supporting the entire emergency management process

Well, that what was I wanted to present for you today I hope you found it interesting [ Applause ] Really interesting information, I just want to know if I got it right Is it correct that you're developing an app that I can download and stream or is it No, its only ment for streaming live video to the 112 alarm centre so they can gain a better visual situational awareness from the incident utilizing the callers phone What we often see is that what is communicated to us by normal phone often doesn't match reality So, if you call 112 and report an incident, the 112 alarm central will then text you with a link to an app so you securely can stream live video from your phone directly to the alarm and dispatch center Very good, thank you so much And the Swedish drone you showed might also be one of the answers to what we are discussing earlier today? When you can ship 1 ton via the drone as a supplement to a helicopter lift Yes

Very very exciting – we have time for a single question Yes! The question was if the Swedish Thunder Wasp drone, has variable pitch on the rotors Yes, I believe it does But there is actually one thing that I would like to elaborate on -something we have also talked about earlier today And that's because we depend on the 4G cellular network and, in popular terms, there is only coverage on the trail where there is light, outside the trail light 4G doesn’t cover But as emergency service we work in many different areas and it is far from always that we have coverage and therefore we have a great wish for the mobile network to expand and get a much larger coverage

Especially on the West coast of Norway, with high mountains, it requires quite a lot to get a bigger coverage and that is the biggest challenge we have and where we want to get so much cooperation with all the players in order to get the best possible coverage at an incident site And of course this is something that applies not only to us but throughout all of Norway Very good, thank you so much