WORCESTER, MA— August 5, 2010 This week the Department of Homeland Security sponsored testing of systems to locate emergency responders inside a structural inferno. The testing took place at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Fifth Annual Technology Workshop. The Worcester Fire Department, who suffered the loss of six team members in 1999, performed the trials. Three systems were tested. Without the aid of any system, the Worcester Firefighters needed 24 minutes to locate a fallen emergency responder. The Q-Track Corporation’s wireless system yielded the fastest rescue of the day, finding the “lost” firefighter in seven minutes.
Worcester Deputy Fire Chief John F. Sullivan said the technology demonstrated this week, “showed marked improvement from previous years.” To overcome failures of previous wireless systems, Q-Track used low frequencies which penetrate walls more efficiently than high frequencies. Q-Track also used a radically different way of measuring distance called Near Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER®) technology.
Q-Track’s Steve Werner, a WPI graduate, stated “the Q-Track demonstration at WPI was the product of only a small internal research and development effort.” With a modest investment in resources, the NFER® system could be significantly improved for this application.