WHAT IS FASTER and its mission
FASTER addresses the challenges associated with the protection of first responders in hazardous environments, while at the same time enhancing their capabilities in terms of situational awareness and communication.
First responders around the globe share a common mission to ensure the safety and security of the people they serve and protect.
FASTER has a clear vision of going well beyond the state of the art providing cross-discipline tools to assist FIRST Responders in all aspects of their work.
Due to the nature of their work, first responders are often operating in risky and hazardous conditions disaster sites, like demolished, burnt or flooded districts, being exposed to non-visible threats such as very high temperatures and dangerous gases. Furthermore, first responders may experience incidents (e.g. sudden illness, dizziness or exhaustion strokes) during operations, which can prevent them from completing their mission, but, more importantly, put their own health at risk.
FASTER will employ a set of important supporting technologies that will be deployed to circumvent special conditions that manifest during disasters and hamper the deployment and effectiveness of traditional disaster response systems. These are UAVs and UGVs for their mapping and transportation capabilities to increase overall situational awareness, deliver important resources and even offer firefighting solutions, resilient communications, as disaster conditions may disrupt and hamper communications or even prevent operational networking conditions, and technologies for companion K9 units and mini-UAVs for obstacle bypassing, improved inspection and navigational capabilities. Moreover, AR tools for improved situational awareness by making immediately visible, in-situ and in real-time, information that was previously unavailable or difficult to get, will be adopted.
These supporting technologies will expand the first responders’ arsenal and allow them to operate on most situations and conditions while protecting them in hostile environments and improving their overall effectiveness and operational capacity.
Focus on First Responders:
As aforementioned, in the heart of FASTER’s concept lie the first responders and purposely they will be involved during all phases of the FASTER project’s realization For this reason, FASTER involves multi-disciplinary first responder organizations in its consortium to allow from their specific viewpoints a wide grade of involvement during FASTER’s design, development and testing phases. For this purpose, first re-sponder organizations are participating heavily in the design and piloting phase. Moreover, in order to create tools that will match first responders’ needs, FASTER is establishing new ways of involving them in the development phase. They will participate in a continuous usability and performance assessment program of the tools and each FR organization will monitor the development of a key technology. All solutions will be designed for specific scenarios and use cases that simulate actual operational scenarios. In addition, device selection, ergonomics and operational capacity will be decided after multi-party discussions between the technical team and the first responder representatives. As a result, FASTER will deliver specific, validated solutions for first responders. Societal acceptable will not be neglected as all social, ethical and legal aspects will be considered to materialize FASTER’s concept into widely accepted disaster response solutions.