By Adam K. Thiel
We've seen a lot of negative stories about SCBA lately, so it's nice to see a positive example of where technology might be able to take us in the future.
Without question, the "Augmented Reality" mask profiled in this story, coupled with the "flat pack" SCBA developed by the International Association of Fire Fighters in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, and any of several firefighter location systems currently being tested, offer truly game-changing potential for protecting firefighters during interior structural firefighting.
The kicker, though, is whether or not fire departments will be able to afford the latest and greatest technology, especially given the economic climate for the foreseeable future and persistent difficulties supplying basic staffing, apparatus, and equipment in many jurisdictions.
Keeping in mind that most folks have absolutely no idea what we do, or how we do it, it's vitally important to use opportunities like this one (with this story receiving national airtime on CNN) to have a conversation with your citizens, managers, and elected officials about how technological advances might (or might not) affect firefighters in your department.