Research, Development and Supply Partner to monitor, interpret and display Fire fighter physiology in real time within an operational environment.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority | Published October 23, 2015 - Deadline November 19, 2015
Design and execution of research and development. The Project.
GMFRS envisages that this project will be delivered by one supplier and will be broken down in to 2 distinct phases, with phase two only being entered in to when GMFRS are satisfied that there is sufficient reason to progress and that all work and outputs from phase 1 have been exhausted and there is a business case to progress the project.
1. Using existing technology to gather physiological data from a broad range of GMFRS research participants, including, heart rate and core body temperature. Resultant data will identify parameters that, in part, will inform the development of a pragmatic, reliable physical application, in the form of a non-intrusive monitoring device.
2. Resultant device must be able to relay captured data and reliably send to a monitoring position remote from the fire fighter. This real time data, must then be displayed on an easy to interpret visual device.
3. For GMFRS to have viable options for real time remote monitoring of fire fighters physiological parameters of core body temperature and heart rate, via non-intrusive, personal issue apparatus. Developed system must provide a visual and audible warning when physiological tolerance limits are about to be exceeded.
4. As well as the ability to send live data to a remote location the monitoring device must be able to display the data on a smaller device, such that a fire fighter can carry with them. This device, whilst visualising the physiological data must also provide an audible warning when tolerance limits are about to be exceeded. Both proximate and remote devices must provide warnings, visual and audible, with a reasonable level of tolerance built in to enable fire fighters to exit the risk area.
5. To use the research findings to inform standard operating procedures and further developments, in line with ‘The Future of Fire Fighting’ development goal.
In order for the research and development to stand up to scrutiny, GMFRS will be utilising the services of Salford University to assist in this project. It is therefore essential that the successful Research and Development Partner is willing to engage with both GMFRS and Salford University throughout the course of the project.
Salford University will act as a critical friend to GMFRS, in particular, in phase 1 initial research element of the project. They will utilise their academic expertise in human physiology to test and validate data, scrutinise and challenge testing procedures that are undertaken and apply their academic rigour to each element as required.
1. Monitoring device must be able to measure the physiological parameters of core body temperature as close to the ambulatory gold standard of a rectal probe as possible, and heart rate as close to the gold standard of an electrocardiogram as possible.
2. Monitoring device and proximate interpretation system must be able to withstand temperatures expected within a compartment fire situation and continue to operate within expected limits.
3. Data transfer method from the monitoring device to the remote interpretation system must be reliable and resilient to a degree that would function within an operational environment that could be reasonably foreseen.
4. Visualisation of gathered data must be easily interpreted by the end user in order for operational decisions to be made.
5. Audibility of both systems must be at a level that it is easily heard within an operational environment but not exceed recognised safe working limits without ear defenders.
6. Product(s) and/or technology must not, in any way, interfere or inhibit the use or operability of existing operational equipment, including but not limited to, radios and breathing apparatus telemetry.
The phases can be summarised as follows:
— Phase 1 — Initial research and prototype development. Development of potential technology and/or product, based on outputs of initial research, to accurately measure, monitor and transfer a range of physiological data, including core body temperature in a non intrusive manner. Product will include a monitoring device to enable the fire fighter to monitor their own data as well as having the ability to send data from fire fighters operating in a real time fire fighting environment to a remote monitoring position away from the fire fighting environment.
— Phase 2 — Further development, manufacture and supply of technology and/or product(s). The supplied technology/product(s) must, where possible, meet all the requirements detailed in this section. It is recognised however, that evidence gathered following phase 1 of the project may refine the specification. All changes must, ultimately, satisfy the aims and objectives of the project and will be made by agreement with all research partners.
Phase 1 — Research Objectives.
1. To examine the relationship between ambient compartmental fire temperatures and fire fighter physiological responses when wearing full personal protective equipment, including full fire fighting ensemble and breathing apparatus.
2. To define safe exposure limit range for individuals utilising the physiological parameters of core body temperature and heart rate as determining factors.
3. To test, using a cross section of serving fire fighters, currently available technology that will allow for real time remote monitoring of a fire fighter's physiological parameters within a compartment fire situation wearing full personal protective equipment, including full fire fighting ensemble and breathing apparatus.
4. To identify and/or develop a non-intrusive physiological monitoring device capable of operating within the environment expected of a compartment fire.
5. To identify and/or develop a reliable methodology of interpreting and relaying data to a remote local.
6. To identify and/or develop a proximate monitoring device that will be used by the fire fighter within the operational arena in order to monitor their individual physiology and safe exposure limit.
Phase 2 — Further development, manufacture and supply of technology and/or product(s).
Upon the successful development of an appropriate product/device/technology as outlined above, the Research and Development Partner, will have the ability either directly, or via a third party, to manufacture and supply the resultant product to GMFRS as part of this project.
At the outset of this project, the costs of any devices that may be developed at some point in the future are difficult to determine. However, given the budget that GMFRS has allocated to the initial phase of this project, along with the possibility of future development and unit cost, this tender has been advertised via the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
Whilst GMFRS would be the initial user of any product/device that may be developed upon the successful conclusion of the stages outlined above, the contract would be open, by agreement, for use by all other UK and International Fire and Rescue Services.
Upon appointment and prior to the commencement of the research phase, GMFRS and the Research and Development Partners, including Salford University, will discuss and agree the added value and commercial parameters, including intellectual property rights, discounts, future rebates based on sales, that will be available to GMFRS and Salford University should any product/device/solution be developed which meets the requirements, aims and objectives of the project.