Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oblique imagery for firefighting

This week's series is about the value of oblique aerial photography for public safety. I would hope that yesterday's post explaining how this imagery might be used for planning and executing a high-risk arrest warrant or search warrant makes sense. It should be pretty easy to translate this to firefighting.  If that house were involved in a structure fire, these same images would provide valuable information to a Springfield battalion chief commanding the fireground.

A great use for oblique imagery in the fire service is for response planning. Fire departments generally identify those locations that present heightened risk, and create plans in advance for use in the event of an incident. Places such as manufacturing plants, schools, medical institutions, high-rise buildings, and apartment complexes are common candidates for such planning processes.

Here in Lincoln, our fire companies are assigned specific places for pre-planning. The company visits the facility in person, inspects to find the location of such things as the alarm panel, Knox box, electrical service, hazardous materials and so forth. A document is produced containing this information. These so-called "pre-plans" are available on the mobile data computers in the apparatus and in the command vehicle. Oblique imagery could be nice to include in a pre-plan.

Let's say, for example, you are an incident commander at the Fairbault, Minnesota Fire Department.  Among the places you'd like to pre-plan is the headquarters of SAGE Electrochromics, Inc., makers of an incredibly interesting product, SageGlass. Your planning results in a .pdf document that contains a floor plan of the facility, the emergency contact information, and the location of standpipes, utilities, exits, alarm panel, stairwells, and so forth.  Wouldn't you think that this page would be a valuable addition to the package? It was about a ten minute job to make it this morning, including a few pauses to sip my coffee.

Click image to enlarge

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