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Abstract

This paper explores the design specification of on-site emergency response information systems. In particular how emerging technologies such as wireless sensor networks, RFID, and wireless communication technologies, might enable on-site dynamic information to be retrieved, shared, and presented to the first responders. The information needed for an emergency response is discussed and end-user requirements are identified through extensive interviews with fire fighters together with observation made of fire emergency response training simulations. These requirements are considered in relation to the identified responsibilities of the core members in the first responder hierarchy. On-site dynamic information collection is discussed in terms of wireless sensor networks and radio frequency identification technologies, and information sharing among the first responders is implemented based on a local wireless communication network. The on-site dynamic information required by emergency personnel is presented at three situation awareness levels in order to meet the various requirements of the first responders. Finally, a prototype information system for fire and rescue services is discussed to illustrate and evaluate the methods proposed in this paper. This work outlines the basic design principles and practice of on-site information systems for emergency first responders and shows that such an information system could greatly improve their performance as well as reducing the risks they face, once the emerging technologies are in place to implement them. Although our focus was on structural fire and fire fighters, the on-site emergency response system proposed here is applicable to other emergency response as well, due to the existence of common training methods and standard operating procedures.

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