Mass Casualty Incidents, News, Training

Justin Fairless and Michael Baker Discuss New NASA Technology to Find Trapped Victims at EMS Today

Justin W. Fairless, DO, NRP, FACEP, director of EMS and disaster medicine at Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Okla., and Michael Baker, NRP, director of EMS at Tulsa Fire Department, shared their experiences with new technology that is currently being carried by Oklahoma Task Force-1 (USAR) and Tulsa Fire Department to potentially save lives in rescue and disaster operations.

A new, portable radar device, developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, can detect the pulse and respiratory rate of live victims trapped under rubble in a structural collapse. This can be done remotely prior to removal of the rubble and extrication of the victims. In mass casualty scenarios, this device could quickly guide rescue teams to a concentrated area of victims.

Fairless is the medical team manager for OK-TF1 and has worked with the team on training and deployment of the FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) prototype device on a trial basis. As the EMS director for Tulsa Fire Department, Baker has been involved in the use of the FINDER for training and rescue operations at the local fire department level.

Some additional highlights of the presentation included:

  • The problem with finding trapped victims in multiple collapsed structures.
  • NASA and DHS work together to find a solution.
  • An overview of the FINDER’s functionality.
  • How and why does this device work?
  • Testing it Out: Testing Phase and More Testing.
  • The FINDER in Tulsa: Local experiences with USAR and Fire Department Training.