IoT: Redefining Emergency Response and Prevention in Fire Safety and Evacuation

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By Dr. Vikram Mehta, MD of SPARTAN Fire Evacuation Lift (fondly known as the Fire Evacuation Man of Maharashtra)

During fire emergencies, things can go wrong in an instant. It becomes crucial for firefighters to develop emergency action plans (EAP) with effective evacuation procedures so that in an emergency scenario, Occupants know where to go. Unfortunately, many factors can affect the ability of firefighters to do their job, resulting in delayed evacuations and uncontrollable fires. For example, in a Mediterranean cost like Mumbai, the wind velocity makes it difficult to climb higher floors to rescue people and put out fires in time. Additionally, the city’s 24/7 busy roads, potholes, narrow lanes, and parking can create further challenges. Given the current infrastructural growth and rising high-rise buildings, having an evacuation plan in place is predominant. However, it is equally important to have an IoT system integrated into your Fire Safety and Evacuation Equipment. The profound impact of IoT has revolutionized emergency response and prevention in Fire Emergencies.

In 2023, the capital city of Maharashtra recorded the highest number of fire disaster calls in four years, claiming the lives of 33 people and resulting in 4,721 calls. This alarming situation highlights the need for everyone to be cautious about fire safety and evacuation norms. In most cases, buildings’ Fire Safety Equipment was in non-working condition, which is a serious concern. To address this, the integration of IoT can play a crucial role in monitoring and tracking the life and maintenance of all fire safety and evacuation equipment. In 2022, the Maharashtra Energy Department, Fire Brigade, and Municipal Corporation introduced a lifesaving Fire Evacuation Lift equipped with an IoT system to make it more effective in rescuing occupants, including infants, differently-abled people, pregnant women, and pets during fire emergencies.

IoT devices and systems are being used to enhance emergency response in various aspects of fire safety. For instance, IoT-enabled fire alarms and smoke detectors can instantly alert authorities and send notifications to building occupants in case of a fire.

The adoption of IoT in fire safety brings numerous benefits that enhance emergency response and prevention. IoT enables real-time monitoring, allowing fire safety personnel to have immediate visibility into critical aspects such as smoke levels, temperature, and occupancy. This real-time data empowers them to make informed decisions and respond promptly to emergencies.

Let’s see how IoT Systems help at all stages. 

  • Internet of Things (IoT) systems can help prevent fires by providing early warnings. Fire Sprinklers with IoT sensors can be activated if smoke, fire, or high temperatures are detected in an area.
  • IoT-enabled Lifts are equipped with sensors that monitor critical parameters such as temperature, smoke levels, and occupancy. These sensors provide real-time data to a central control system, enabling it to make informed decisions in emergencies. For instance, if smoke is detected on a particular floor, the control system can automatically direct the lift to skip that floor and proceed to the next safe level for evacuation.
  • IoT Sensors or systems can not only monitor buildings to detect fires but can also provide fire stations with enhanced computer-aided dispatch and improved situational awareness for firefighters and activate sprinklers.
  • IoT technology can facilitate seamless communication between fire safety systems and emergency services. Firefighters can receive real-time updates on the situation, including the location of the fire, the number of occupants in the building, and any potential hazards. This information allows them to plan their response more effectively and make informed decisions on resource allocation.
  • IoT technology enhances situational awareness. With the integration of IoT devices and systems, fire safety personnel have access to a wealth of information, including real-time updates on the fire’s location, the number of occupants, and potential hazards. This information allows them to assess the situation accurately and deploy the necessary resources effectively.
  • In high-rise buildings, Fire Evacuation Lifts equipped with IoT assist Fire Brigades and Operators by providing real-time data.
  • The Energy Department can easily track the Life of a Lift by collecting data from the IoT. IoT tracks annual maintenance and sends early warnings in case of any failure.
  • The fire evacuation lift has an IoT (Internet of Things)–based control panel that sends automatic notifications to the nearest fire department, society members, and residents in the event of a fire.
  • It has features that allow the user and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to access real-time data such as total operating hours, day-by-day operating hours, fault history, etc. The faster and simpler communication process alarms everyone, from the users to the fire department.

In conclusion, IoT has redefined emergency response and prevention in fire safety. From smart fire evacuation lifts to real-time monitoring and early detection systems, IoT technology has proven to be a game-changer in enhancing fire safety measures. By embracing IoT, Builders, and Developers can ensure faster emergency response, minimize property damage, and most importantly, save lives. It is time to embrace the future of fire safety and evacuation with IoT.