Philly is hosting a firefighting tech symposium in Old City this week - Philly


Sep. 23, 2019 12:17 pm

Philly is hosting a firefighting tech symposium in Old City this week

Professionals across the tech, emergency response and medical industries will gather for three days of firefighting innovation.
Members of Engine 38 push a fire truck inside their new station.

Members of Engine 38 push a fire truck inside their new station.

(Photo by Kait Privitera for the City of Philadelphia.)

Honoring the fact that Philadelphia was the first city to have a structured fire department, the Fire Service Innovation in Safety Symposium will be held in the city this week. The event brings fire officials and innovators together to talk the future of safety.

The conference will kick off at the Wyndham in Old City Tuesday, inviting firefighters, researchers and manufacturers to discuss the next generation of advances in the emergency response industry.

The Philadelphia Fire Department is cohosting the conference along with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The symposium is made up of panel discussions, TEDx-like presentations, short case studies and workshops.

Attendees will go over topics like social media, technology investment risk vs. gain, cost/benefit of new technologies, effectiveness of technology, human/machine interaction and impacts on decision making, the conference website says.

Conference organizer Tricia Sanborn said a large reason the conference is happening in Philadelphia is because of Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel.

“He is a huge force on the national scene, driving the fire service to look beyond its centuries of tradition and conventional wisdom, and to adapt best practices from other high risk industries,” she said.

Thiel was also involved in getting Interschutz USA, one of the world’s largest fire service industry trade shows, to come to Philadelphia next year, Sanborn said.

The Fire Service Innovation in Safety Symposium is one of a kind, Sanborn said, and is focused on brainstorming ways to exchange ideas and get new folks thinking about how to make firefighting operationally more effective and safer.

“The other issue we’re trying to address is to look at ways to plan for integrating emergency response organizations into the smart cities movement,” she said. “Many municipalities have literally ignored (or been bypassed) as their cities transition to smart technologies.”


Some of the panels will look at topics like the intersection between departments and data collection, and how they relate to firefighter behavioral and physical health, a look at an online community that supports firefighter innovation across the US. and doctors talking about physiological monitoring, including carcinogenic exposure, and cardiac and temperature sensors.

The symposium begins Tuesday evening, with an opening reception, and continues with two days of programing through Thursday. Registration for the event is $100.


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