New technology could help detect bushfires earlier

NRMA Insurance is working on revolutionary technology that could help detect bushfires earlier, and ultimately help save lives.

The NRMA FireBlanket Project has been in development for the last two years. It essentially works on the idea that people smell bushfires before they see them, and hence if there was a device like a smoke alarm created in the bush then people would be alerted when a bushfire is in its early stages.

The project uses a network of sensor nodes that act like a giant smoke alarm for communities. It puts a virtual safety blanket over communities and when smoke is detected, the sensors can talk to each other to locate the source of the fire and predict where it will spread next.

This intelligence can then be used to aid emergency services and alert communities quickly when a fire risk is detected. This provides the crucial time needed to prepare or evacuate as quickly as possible.

Every year, 1 in 10 Australian lives are threatened by bushfires. This is not only frightening and heartbreaking for those living in bushfire-affected areas, it also has far-reaching consequences on the greater community and early detection methods are desperately needed.

This new prototype could be the answer and if it can be shown to provide accurate intelligence when it’s needed most, it will help protect bushfire prone communities around the country.

While the technology is still in its development it’s important for homes in bushfire prone areas to remain bushfire aware and to prepare and protect their homes against bushfires.

Information on bushfire planning can be found at the NSW Rural Fire Service website.

For more information about NRMA’s FireBlanket Project, visit www.nrmafireblanket.com.au.

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