Chapter 19. FASTER Project Technologies: A Reality of the Future


Ana Díaz Herrero, PhD, Ana M. Cintora Sanz, Soledad Gómez De la Oliva, MD, Oscar Carrillo Fernández, María R. Rodríguez Morenilla, Julio Ruíz Palomino, MD, and Francisco J. Carrillo Zamora
Prehospital Emergency Medical Service of Madrid Region, SUMMA112, Madrid, Spain

Part of the book: The Challenges of Disaster Planning, Management, and Resilience


FASTER is an H2020 research project, within the European framework, in which Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams, in addition to other first responders, conduct an on-the-ground assessment of latest support technologies. These technologies are to be used in victim rescue response situations well as for coordination and safety procedures between disaster responders in diverse types of catastrophe scenarios. The tools have been developed by technical partners of the FASTER project committee and, with the aim of assessing the tools, two pilot exercises were conducted in collapsed buildings in Spain, simulating the impact of two earthquakes. The objective is to integrate and adapt the FASTER tools in initial interventions during the search for and rescue of victims. The focus is placed on information gathering in the disaster area, among other aspects. Simulation exercises were conducted in real locations involving collapsed buildings using drones, unmanned vehicles, canine wearables, a mobile command centre, a weather station and social network analysis, with real people acting the part of victims together with human dummy figures. Through these exercises, an assessment was carried out of the acceptability, ease of use, applicability, efficiency, and effectiveness of FASTER technology. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during the implementation of various pilot exercises was a setback that led us to introduce a USAR Camp deployment procedure involving preventive anti-COVID-19 measures, in accordance with the recommendations of official organisations such as INSARAG and the WHO.

Keywords: catastrophe, disaster, first responders, search and rescue, new technologies


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