An explosion has just torn through and caused heavy damage to a U.S. Embassy. You and your team have been assigned to conduct a search and rescue mission. First on scene with the proper equipment and not having to wait for additional Search and Rescue (SAR) assets, can make the huge difference in the survival rate in the collapsed structure. With a visual confirmation of the victim the team can now start the process of medical care and an extraction component plan. Add voice communication capabilities and victims can now share more intel about the incident and their surroundings. Visual confirmation may also confirm a tactical threat still intact and so limiting entry. Safety and survival are two challenges the proper search camera can help overcome.
The Haiti Earthquake presented similar scenarios for the Federal Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams that were deployed to respond to the disaster. After confirming the U.S. Embassy was undamaged, teams went to work in other affected areas where collapsed buildings were affected by the earthquake. Search cameras were in high demand and limited the amount of thorough proper searches that could be completed. Within two days international teams without proper equipment including the lack of search cameras soon found themselves overwhelmed and completed missions with no survivors. U.S. teams in the same buildings but with search cameras finally captured the entombed victims within the rubble of the Caribbean Market and nearby elementary school. After clearing of any hazmats, communication with live victims began. Patient care items were passed to the victims through small holes to eliminate further exposure during more concrete cutting and dust impaction. Medical teams continued communications with victims during rescue operations able to complete patient assessments both visually and physically. The camera(s) allowed for confirmation of live victims, location, conditions, exposures, assessment, communication, and monitoring the extraction of five live victims, including 2 field amputations required for removal. The importance of having cameras specifically for the medical teams was invaluable.
Visual confirmation while searching inside a down aircraft, rolled MRAP or JLTV, damaged vessel, weapons storage bunker, unknown structure, tunnel, barracks, Embassy collapse and the like, present various units with challenging decisions. Having the right equipment allows for mission success. Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams can search void spaces faster and safer than ever before while increasing their capability and capacity for expanded assignments. Search cameras have added a benefit to the Dignitary Protection Teams at the U.N. used by tactical security personnel.
Agility Technologies FirstLook360 (FL360) Search & Rescue camera is ideal for SOCOM, MARSOC, AFSOC, and other units during SAR applications. When deployed into void spaces the FL360 camera instantly captures a live 360° spherical view, allowing the operator to explore the interior, allow two-way audio, GPS location, mapping and the ability to be connected wired or wireless to a mobile device. The sophisticated IP68 water and dust immersion rating and broad operating temperature range -10°C — 60°C allows operation 24/7 in the most challenging environments and conditions.
Originally designed for advanced technical rescue within the Urban Search and Rescue global market and recently added to the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue National Response System equipment cache, FL360 is now the preferred SAR camera for all federal and state response task forces. Designed portable, rugged, and modular, the camera can be used for structural collapse, vehicle extrication, confined space, hazmat, high angle rescue, investigations, and inspections. Partially exposed victims, weapons, exposures, or hazmat’s can present teams with overwhelming decisions. Hazmat teams have utilized the 360° spherical video and snapshot recordings to share for exact product(s) identification. Rescue breaching teams have utilized the GPS location and voice contact features to exposure a secondary exit opportunity and eliminate longer extraction times. Medical teams have embraced the FL360 as a victim assessment tool. The mobile integration has allowed multiple practitioners to assist in providing long term care to entrapped victims in a confined collapsed building.
Partial Patient Assessment has become a life-saving tool for prolonged entrapped victims and highly recommended during field amputation scenarios. The FEMA US&R Response Program has implemented a training module within the Medical Team Specialist Course, this in addition to the Technical Search Team member module. The modular configuration of the FL360 allows the camera to be utilized by much smaller tactical/medical responder units and agencies which before the introduction, was much more difficult with the larger, heavier and older mechanical versions of search cameras. The FirstLook360 search camera has enabled people to have a safer, faster approach and completely changed the way responders assess confined spaces and tactical environments.
If you have any questions or wish to know more about the FL360 camera and its use in SAR operations, please feel free to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Joe Hernandez (Ret.)
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R)
Florida Task Force II
U. S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Joe is a Founding Member of Homeland Security. His involvement with FEMA US&R began shortly after its inception in 1989 and served the national response system as a rescue specialist, medical specialist, safety officer, and medical coordinator until retirement shortly after the Haiti Earthquake. He has served as a DHS/FEMA national coordinator and lead instructor for the US&R Medical Team Training Program and lead SME for current curriculum development at FEMA and has been instrumental in assisting other US&R medical programs develop around the country. His larger response experience include the OK City Bombing, PR Humberto Vidal Building Explosion, Value Jet Crash, Hurricanes Andrew-Katrina-others, WTC Attacks, and the Haiti Earthquake. Joe possess Technician Level Certifications in Rope Rescue, Extrication Vehicle-Machinery, Trench Rescue, Confined Space and Structural Collapse.
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