Finding missing persons and cows at night with the integrated thermal imaging camera, warning first responders of poison gas, and a robust tool for notifications – the Lauterhofen fire brigade uses its new Cat smartphone in many situations.
Just a few months ago, the first responders of the town of Lauterhofen, Germany, did not use their service telephone for much more than to report the situation of the respective operation. Thanks to their new smartphone – they themselves find the term “tool” more appropriate –, the first responders now have more options than ever.
In the event of emergencies in the municipal area and beyond, the first-responder group at Lauterhofen is always alerted in case it is able to get to the scene faster than the regular rescue service. As a rule, the operations are carried out via the integrated control centre in Regensburg.
The aim of the system is to keep the time gap between the emergency call and qualified first aid as short as possible. First responders thus bridge the time until the rescue service arrives, provide first aid and take further medical measures. Project groups have shown that the patients’ chances of survival are up to 25 percent higher when first responders are on duty.
One tool, many rescues
To get them on their way to their patients faster and more safely, the Lauterhofen fire brigade is now using a Cat S61.
In addition, the smartphone supports the rescuers under adverse conditions with its outdoor suitability. “With its versatile functions, the Cat S61 is reminiscent of a kind of Swiss army knife,” says Andreas Aigner, First Responder of the Lauterhofen fire brigade. “The difference is that its app user interface means that it can be extended almost indefinitely, depending on the application. Our emergency personnel particularly appreciate the integrated thermal imaging camera. However, the powerful flashlight and air sensor are also frequently used by my colleagues.”
“The smartphone can be operated even with wet fingers or gloves and is so robust that, in a traffic accident and when every second counts, you can drop it on wet ground without causing any damage.”
For example, after a truck driver who had transported whiskey bottles hit a stationary milk truck, the arriving first responders were warned of hazardous gas by the sensor on the Cat S61. The broken whiskey bottles emitted fumes, and the Cat S61 sounded the alarm within seconds.
The smartphone was also used when cows had run away. The first-responder group in Lauterhofen also supported the multi-day search using the integrated FLIR® thermal imaging camera of the Cat S61. The free-range animals posed a danger to road users on sections of the B299 and on the St2164.
Andreas Aigner reports: “The smartphone can be operated even with wet fingers or gloves and is so robust that, in a traffic accident and when every second counts, you can drop it on wet ground without causing any damage. Most emergency service colleagues find it easy to master their various challenges with the Cat phone.”
This was also the case during an exercise in the forest: “It turned out that two forest workers were missing. We took on the operation with the help of a search chain. The thermal imaging cameras of the Lauterhofen and Schwend fire brigades and the new First Responder mobile phone with thermal imaging camera were used too,” explains Andreas Aigner. After a few minutes, the missing persons were found in the undergrowth thanks to the thermal imaging cameras, and finally rescued.
“Additional functions that were previously unthinkable”
For all those who need some support in operating the thermal imaging camera or want to get even deeper into it, Cat offers the MyFlir application on the Cat S61. Popular features such as real-time thermal image transfer, tips and tricks directly on the device, and a community forum helps users make the most of the thermal imaging capabilities.
“The variety of functions, but above all the thermal imaging camera, has opened up important tactical possibilities for us.”
The Cat S61 also features a laser-based rangefinder that can measure point-to-point distances of up to eight meters. For Andreas Aigner and his colleagues, for example, this is important for reconstructing how deeply a patient has fallen and deciding on possible injuries and recovery equipment.
“The variety of functions, but above all the thermal imaging camera, has opened up important tactical possibilities for us. In addition, the Cat S61 is robust and its apps offer us additional functions that were unthinkable just a few months ago,” adds Andreas Aigner. “If a flashlight is needed unexpectedly, the S61 is a powerful tool, too. Poor light during the preparation of an intravenous access would be an example here. And finally, the air sensor also serves the team as a self-securing device.”