Integrated safety pilot region provides digital support for firefighters in operations

Firefighting exercise demonstrates potential of digitization in civil emergency response

Firefighters and other emergency response organizations need fast, easy and targeted access to all relevant information in order to be able to provide the best possible assistance to the population at all times. Many individual digital solutions are only of limited use in emergencies due to different operating concepts and without integration into existing systems. One possible solution for bundled access is the networking of technologies. What such a bundling of information could look like was demonstrated on May 26 during a firefighting exercise in Paderborn. The exercise was part of the pilot operation in the “Integrated Security Pilot Region” (INSPIRE) project, which is being funded with around 1.5 million euros over a period of three years as part of the digital model region Ostwestfalen-Lippe of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In order to create an integrated solution for the use case, INSPIRE networks existing solutions and new developments using the example of the technologies drones, smart home/building, people flow measurement and social media. The project follows the approach of open interfaces and makes the developments available to other emergency response organizations as free software. This makes the project results expandable and transferable, so that knowledge gained can be used for further innovative applications for emergency forces and the population.

The project is coordinated by the safety innovation center e.V. from Paderborn, which, together with its partners, researches the needs and potentials in the area of digitization for civil emergency response both nationally and internationally. For this purpose, needs from practice are continuously brought into line with the potential of innovative information technologies. The cooperation with the city of Paderborn and the district of Paderborn enables research on the basis of a typical image of emergency response structures and security scenarios of many regions in Germany, where an exchange of information across regions and organizations is of great importance.

In INSPIRE, the safety innovation center e.V. is responsible for the overall concept. To link the above technologies with existing solutions and potential new developments, it is developing the INSPIRE.hub, in which incoming data is intelligently processed. In practice, this data can be helpful, for example, for early hazard detection or the automatic initiation of response mechanisms. This mission-relevant information is then made available to the user in civil emergency response in a usable form in the The safety innovation center e.V. continues to work on the area of social media, in which social media channels are integrated as an additional data source that also serves as a communication option between emergency forces and the population.

Symcon GmbH is responsible for the integration of the smart home/building area. Due to their experience in building automation and the integration of smart home solutions from different manufacturers, innovative security use cases of networked smart homes/buildings can be investigated in INSPIRE. The area of people flow metering is implemented by RTB GmbH & Co. KG. It includes the measurement of people flows and the detection of dangerous situations. With experience in the production and use of drones for authorities and organizations with security tasks (BOS), the partner Condor Multicopter & Drones GmbH together with Germandrones GmbH takes over the technology drones in the project INSPIRE, with which the situation picture of the danger defense organizations is supplemented by high-quality and current information. The Computer Application and Integration in Design and Planning (C.I.K.) group at the University of Paderborn is responsible for testing and quality assurance in INSPIRE and integrates the implementation of the project results into the research context.

Together with the networking of innovative technologies, the aspects of openness and pilot operation form the central goals of the project. Openness stands for orientation to formal and informal standards. Through a defined description of interaction paths between technologies, an existing system can be supplemented without having to use additional applications. The pilot operation in Paderborn enables the practical demonstration of the project results and testing of usability. It is expandable and can be transferred to other regions.

In the course of this pilot operation, the exercise took place on May 26 with all project partners, the city of Paderborn, the district of Paderborn and the Paderborn Fire Department at Smart Home Paderborn e.V.. There, the fire department’s operations manager was supported by INSPIRE. An inconspicuous everyday object was the starting point for an assumed house fire. Since the homeowner was not on site, he received an immediate pre-configured message about the fire thanks to the Smart Home/Buidling technology, which he forwarded to the fire department as an emergency call. He then released information from the home to the fire department while respecting privacy. At the scene, the drone flying ahead gave the incident commander an initial bird’s-eye view of what was happening. In the further course of the project, an automated flight of the drone from the fire station to the incident site is planned. The made it possible for the emergency services to access relevant information about the scene of the incident while they were still on their way to the scene. Before arriving, they used the integrated map to get an overview of the surroundings, locate relevant hydrants for drawing water for firefighting, avoid roadblocks, and, in particular, identify the presence of two people in the house. Upon arriving at the scene, the fire department used this information to begin rescuing people on site. Through the, the incident commander was able to show the last reported location of the missing persons to the advancing squad, who were then successfully rescued. This was followed by firefighting, during which the incident commander controlled the drone over the house in order to detect any pockets of embers with the help of the thermal imaging camera. With the successful rescue of the persons and the fighting of the fire, the exercise was considered to be completed.

This exercise marks the beginning of the long-term pilot operation. The next step is to prepare for permanent operation at the Paderborn Fire Department. After setting up a dedicated server, the will gradually be made available to the fire department’s executives and expanded with modules. In parallel, further exercises are being planned for practical testing. An exercise in the fall will focus on people flow measurement and social media. With the evaluation of the pilot, this will address the fundamental question of how to transfer to other organizations. If there is interest in participating as a user or technology provider in INSPIRE or also for other projects in the area of “digitization for civil security”, contact can be made via .

More information about the project is available at:

Image source: safety innovation center gGmbH