Firefighters in Australia are testing a new plastic-coated pill that tracks their vitals while they are on duty. The Equivital EQ02 LifeMonitor capsule contains a thermometer and a small transmitter.
Body temperature, heart and respiration rate data is collected and sent to an external computer for monitoring. If the stats show the firefighter is in danger, they can be alerted and pulled out before anything bad happens.
Around fifty firefighters swallowed the smart-pill during a training exercise where they evacuated twenty people from a burning medical center. More trials are planned to test the pill at temperatures ranging from 100°c-600°c.
Victoria’s Country Fire Authority health and wellbeing officer Peter Langridge told News.com.au:
If we see their core body temperature increasing then we know to remove them from the fire and put them into the rehabilitation area. Working in hot environments will stress different people at different rates. There is no set formula for how long a person can fight a fire before they start suffering from heat stress or dehydration and management is the key to protecting our fire fighters.