Soldiers and firefighters can be subject to dehydration, heat strain, physiological and psychological stress and life-threatening injuries during training and operations.
Heat injury is a major issue for firefighters as they wear insulated or encapsulated clothing and cannot easily lose the heat generated through physical exertion. Early onset of heat stress affects cognitive function which combined with operating in often dangerous environments makes heat stress and dehydration a critical issue to monitor.
Commanders, trainers and medics need comprehensive visibility, in real time, of the condition of members of their squad or crew respectively.
Real time monitoring may allow a Fire Chief to call in additional resource before the crew reach exhaustion, to cycle existing crew efficiently where this practice is used and also can give an early warning to firemen before they run out of air.
Monitoring soldier status has become increasingly important because of new lethal and complex technologies that require high reliability of the human operator and new tactics that reduce line-of-sight contact with team members and increase geographical distance and isolation.
Soldier monitoring is no longer a nice-to-have technological replacement for common sense or for good leadership, that includes understanding the signs of soldier limits. Soldiers may not know they are reaching dangerous levels of overheating and dehydration and, if they are fully encapsulated in protective suits and operating in a remote site, their team leaders also may not know they are heading for trouble. An alert to the individual on their future helmet visor display and/or an automatic “911” message to their squad leader can provoke a prompt intervention and save a mission.
Equivital™ products offer Mobile Human Monitoring for real people in real environments. Enabling measurement of critical data about the mobile human in extreme environments, the the contextualised data can be used to derive intelligent, compressed, actionable information on aspects of performance and general state, including physiological & psychological load and general welfare. The deployment of well engineered, light and comfortable fabric sensors (which are flexibly integrated into clothing or adjustable belts/harnesses) within the existing soldier or firefighter system architecture allows raw data to be continuously collected, and then transmitted locally or remotely for viewing at adjustable rates.
In certain cases existing personal radios can be used to transmit relevant information to those who are in command or responsible for the personnel. In addition, software applications can present the information on a smartphone, PC, web portal or within a secure command and control infrastructure on existing software used for monitoring personnel. As such the Equivital™ product range and technologies have a well-understood and clearly defined topology, which allows great flexibility for deployment and provides users with alternative ways of using the products or technologies within their organisation.
Equivital™ products have been widely used by Military organisations and fire departments in the US, Europe and South Asia both in training and operational settings.
We are extremely proud and grateful that extensive testing and development feedback, for our next generation products, has been provided by the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, the US Marine Corps, the US Air force special operations command and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.