BUFFALO, N.Y. -- These days, you can find Patrick O'Connor in the offices of his company, 3AM Innovations—but it was his years as a Grand Island volunteer firefighter that inspired its first product.
"When you first get on scene, you hand your dog tag to an accountability officer, and they're holding a white board. You run into the building, and they're just listening to the radio chatter to find out where you are," said O'Connor, founder and CEO of 3AM.
So he and COO Ryan Litt developed Firefighter Location and Rescue Equipment, or FLARE.
The system works in three ways: GPS monitors their location, steps are tracked similar to the way cell phones do, and the devices talk to each other, eliminating the need for working internet or beacons. A tablet replaces the white board. O'Connor says if enough units are in use, the system can find a firefighter’s exact location within ten centimeters of accuracy.
"I think there's a good balance, I think a responsible balance, of technology that already exists and has been tried and true and then we're pushing it," said Litt.
More features can be added down the road.
"Cardiac arrest is, for example, the most common cause of death for these people that are protecting us, so I think we can explore further capabilities in sensory data in the same way that a Fitbit works for those of us who are trying to get better at the mile run," Litt said.
But next up: producing and testing the first versions of FLARE. The goal is to mount a system on a Snyder fire truck in November.
For more information, visit: https://www.fdaccountability.com/