Lifeshirt, a telemetry strap developed by Ventura, CA-based VivoMetrics Government Services, monitors the ECG, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, and activity level of first responders and reports results wirelessly once-per-second to incident commanders. The devices link responder-to-responder in a mesh network or in a star topology
Lifeshirts were used last month in a $750,000 study of firefighters' training at the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the
University of Maryland. Wearing full turnout gear and breathing apparatus, 200 firefighters ran through a smoke-filled
obstacle course, extinguished a third-floor fire and "rescued" a 140-pound dummy from a burning room.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded the study to try to reduce the number of deaths that occur in the training of firefighters. Training deaths accounted for 10 percent of all on-duty U.S. firefighter deaths in the past decade, despite a drop in the number of firefighter deaths overall. In a job where the prep work is almost as dangerous as the real thing, real time monitoring could make training camp a lot safer.