Erie, Penn. — When firefighters respond to the scene of a burning building, their primary concern is to rescue anyone trapped inside. That can be time-consuming in a multi-story building as first responders urgently navigate floor after floor in search of victims.
SimpleSense, one of the nine companies in the 10-week Secure Erie Accelerator (SEA) hosted by the Erie Innovation District (EID) at 717 State, has a solution to expedite the search, and today tested its technology at Mercyhurst University, lead partner in the EID, with the Erie Fire Department.
SimpleSense CEO Eric Kanagy explained, “We install sensors throughout a building, much like a fire alarm system. The sensors use infrared technology to detect human presence and identify the fastest routes for first responders to find people trapped inside.”
For this test, the Erie Fire Department ran a primary search training exercise in Mercyhurst’s four-story Center for Academic Engagement. SimpleSense hid two victims in the building, with two search teams tasked to find the victims, both with and without sensor data. The teams using the SimpleSense data removed both victims from the building in 2 minutes versus 8 minutes with the normal procedure.
Erie Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeff Carroll said, “To actually know where a victim is possibly instead of searching unknown areas and getting into areas that are dangerous areas for us is going to be a tremendous help.”
As the company expands, SimpleSense intends to run additional tests in schools, universities, offices and other high-hazard buildings across the U.S. to validate how best to implement their sensors. Mark Lorkowski, head of partnerships at SimpleSense, said the company recently partnered with Comcast’s MachineQ™, a service that leverages connected sensor, network and software technologies to enable innovative IoT solutions.
SimpleSense ran a test in August with the Reno Fire Department, using a single primary search team in a university building. That test found an improvement from 16 minutes to 4 minutes to rescue two victims from the building.
Mercyhurst University, founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, is a fully accredited, four-year, Catholic comprehensive institution for men and women in Erie, Pennsylvania. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, nine graduate programs, and a variety of post-baccalaureate and advanced certificates. In addition, Mercyhurst provides certificate and associate degree offerings at branch campuses in North East, Corry and the Booker T. Washington Center. It also maintains an academic center in Dungarvan, Ireland.
SimpleSense developed sensor technology to provide smart routing to spots of interest for security, first responders, and military operations, using sensor fusion and intelligent algorithms to reduce response time and to provide actionable situational awareness. The company founded at the InNEVator accelerator in Reno, Nevada, and is currently participating in the Secure Erie Accelerator, a security and Smart City-focused accelerator in Erie, Penn.
About Erie Innovation District
Erie Innovation District partners intend to execute joint projects related to safety and security, specifically in the high-demand fields of data science and cybersecurity, where their combined skills will create a powerful business alliance. For one of their first initiatives, Secure Erie Accelerator, the District partnered with Singularity University to provide opportunities for networking with companies and institutions involved in other disciplines and serve as a catalyst for economic growth.