The New Fire and Rescue: 5G

Overview Demonstrated by startup Qwake, augmented reality and 5G could be the lifesaving combination for firefighters as they navigate burning buildings and smoke-filled areas.

Firefighters race against time when responding to fires. Rescuing people, pets and property trapped in burning structures or areas, these first responders put their lives on the line. Smoke inhalation, lack of visibility and more can significantly hinder firefighters’ ability to perform their duties and cost precious time.

Verizon — a CES® 2021 keynote company — aims to address such challenges and more with its 5G First Responder Lab, an incubator program designed to provide selected innovators with access to 5G technology to develop, test and refine 5G first responder solutions.

Among its first cohort of innovators was startup Qwake Technologies, who created an augmented reality and 5G vision platform to help firefighters see in smoke-filled, zero-visibility environments.

Seeing in the Dark

Qwake Technologies’ C-Thru helmet was an idea that arose from volcanic expeditions. Qwake CEO and co-founder Sam Cossman needed a tool to help him more safely navigate smoke-filled volcanic craters.

Paired with a tiny computer and augmented reality thermal cameras were transformed from the traditional handheld version and integrated into a single all-encompassing piece of equipment — just like Ironman, the Qwake team says. The C-Thru allows firefighters to see the silhouettes of otherwise indiscernible objects and people, outlining everything in green.

5G Takes It to the Next Level

Qwake has been continuing to advance its helmets with other technologies, including artificial intelligence that can predict the speed and severity of a fire and make time management recommendations for firefighters. By adding 5G to the mix, the C-Thru helmet is able to further increase firefighter safety and communication.

Real-time video: Beyond helping on the frontline, C-Thru helmets can also stream real-time videos back to commanders. 5G computing can process the data produced by the helmets closer to its source instead of sending the video feed to a cloud and back to the commander.

Location tracking: Powered by 5G, location tracking on firefighters can be far more accurate, creating a better digital trail to help teams plan clear escape routes and keep track of each firefighter.

Leveraging 5G, Qwake can connect data from a fire scene to a command center and help firefighters move faster, communicate more effectively and strategize more accurately.

Verizon’s next cohort for its 5G First Responder Lab is also focused on innovators and pioneers with technology for fire and rescue.

Learn more about how 5G can enable life-saving technology.

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