Reno Fire Department Tests New Sensor Technology to Find People Faster in an Emergency

reno fire department uses SimpleSense technology
Firefighters tested if digital maps provided by SimpleSense could speed up their primary search for victims inside the building.

Reno, Nev. – The Reno Fire Department ran a test today at the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center. Two teams of firefighters tested new sensor technology that potentially helps them find people faster in an emergency.

SimpleSense, a startup that grew out of the InNEVator accelerator last October here in Reno, developed these sensors to assist firefighters in what’s called the primary search.

Steve Leighton, Division Chief Operations with the Reno Fire Department, setup the test.

“Over my career, we’ve greatly improved how we get to an incident with better maps, routing, and laptops in our fire trucks. Our primary concern on every incident is life safety and that means our main job is to rescue everyone who is in the building, and that means we embrace any tools or technology that helps us do that job better.”

The primary search is the best chance for firefighters to find anyone trapped inside a burning building, and involves quickly searching as much of the building as possible to locate anyone still inside.

In the test, SimpleSense helped firefighters find two victims inside the four story building in four minutes compared to sixteen minutes with their current procedures. With fires burning hotter and faster due to new building materials, this time difference is a major improvement.

“The Reno community has been very supportive of us, giving lots of feedback and even showing up with fire trucks. It’s great to be part of an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs and our crazy ideas,” said Eric Kanagy, CEO of SimpleSense.

Rosanne Catron is co-director of the InNEVator accelerator, an Internet of Things (IoT) 8-week program that brought SimpleSense to Reno.

“We help startups develop their IoT ideas as quickly and effectively as possible, so they can run out of the lab and into the real world. SimpleSense was part of our first cohort, it’s exciting to see their ideas improving big public safety problems.”

John Abbey, a retired police chief with 30 years of law enforcement experience, mentored SimpleSense as they figured out how to best implement their sensor technology.

“Technology has changed so much since we first put laptops in police cars in California in the late 80s. SimpleSense has figured out a potentially disruptive way to find people faster inside a building.”

SimpleSense is running additional tests in schools, universities, offices, and other high hazard buildings across the U.S. to validate how best to implement their sensors as the company expands.

The Reno Fire Department recently announced the new PulsePoint app, an innovative app that alerts people trained in hands-only CPR when someone in a nearby public place suffers sudden cardiac arrest.

About the Reno Fire Department

The Reno Fire Department’s mission is to provide Reno citizens with the best possible at-risk emergency service in the protection of life and property. In addition to responding to over 35,000 calls a year, safety and prevention education are also key components of their mission.

About SimpleSense

SimpleSense founded at the InNEVator IoT accelerator in Reno, Nevada, in 2017. Their first sensor detects people and how long they’re present, like website analytics but for a physical location. Early applications undergoing testing include compliance, security, emergency response, perimeter detection, and border control applications. All data is collected anonymously and complies with all privacy standards.

About the InNEVator Accelerator

The program’s mission is to empower a diverse set of talented entrepreneurs to bring new IoT technologies to market from ideation to scale in Northern Nevada. This Fall’s program marks the second cohort and, beginning in 2019, the program will expand to a twice-yearly event with programs in the Spring. Organizers came together with a common vision to fuel the creation of successful IoT hardware startups and a thriving ecosystem in Northern Nevada.

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