February 24, 2024

Igniting Change: The Future of Firefighting Technology

Igniting Change: The Future of Firefighting Technology

Firefighting is constantly evolving in the face of increasing challenges and the need to improve firefighter health and safety. Firefighting technology has come a long way from the bucket chains of ancient times. But what does the future hold? Let’s explore the cutting-edge technology that is set to redefine firefighting in the years to come.

1. Wearable Technology: A Sixth Sense for Safety

One of the most promising areas of development is wearable technology. Imagine a firefighter equipped with a smartwatch or a bodysuit sensor that not only measures vital signs but also predicts the wearer's risk of heat stress or toxic exposure. These devices could provide real-time data to incident commanders, enabling a proactive response to protect firefighters before a crisis occurs. Advances in biotelemetry mean that the future of firefighting could see this data linked directly to firefighters' personal protective equipment (PPE), allowing for an unprecedented level of safety and situational awareness.

Notable companies building wearable firefighter technology include:

Qwake C-THRU Mask

The C-THRU mask by Qwake Technologies enhances firefighter visibility in smoke-filled environments. It incorporates an augmented reality (AR) heads-up display (HUD) that overlays critical information onto the firefighter's field of view, such as navigation cues and thermal imaging data.

MSA Lunar

MSA LUNAR is a multi-gas detector that integrates with a firefighter's mask. It not only monitors gas levels but also provides real-time data that can be sent to the cloud for remote monitoring. This helps in tracking the safety of firefighters from a command center.

2. Advanced Protective Gear

Firefighter suits are undergoing significant advancements, not only in offering better protection against heat and flames but also in addressing health concerns related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) traditionally used in turnout gear. As part of an active campaign to remove PFAS, these new suits are crafted with advanced materials that are lighter, more flexible, and free from these harmful chemicals.

Notable companies producing advanced protective gear include:

Honeywell Morning Pride® TAILS

Morning Pride® TAILS™ incorporates fresh ergonomic and safety refinements while retaining the classic features and advantages of the original gear. This re-engineering ensures a superior fit, introduces new elements, and enhances mobility and protection for all firefighters, accommodating responders of various sizes and ensuring heightened comfort and safety on the fireground.

LION RedZone™

LION ensures both safety and comfort in firefighting with turnouts designed for exceptional thermal protection and unrestricted mobility. Features like the SemperDri™ System and Ever-Dry™ Reach System reduce water absorption and vulnerability to water, steam, and flame. The knees are padded with Lite-N-Dri™ water-resistant FR closed-cell cushioning for thermal protection in high-compression areas.

Fire-Dex FXM Turnouts

FXMTurnouts provide fully customizable and economical NFPA 1971 turnout options, catering specifically to meet the unique needs of firefighters. These turnouts enable smooth movements like lunging, climbing, and crawling through the fireground. The seamless gusset and contemporary tapered hem eliminate exposure, ensuring optimal protection.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning could provide predictive analytics for firefighting. By analyzing data from past fires, weather patterns, and urban developments, AI systems could predict where fires are most likely to occur, their potential spread, and the best methods for containment. This could lead to dynamic deployment models where firefighting resources are positioned in advance, significantly reducing response times.

Notable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning companies providing predictive analytics for firefighting include:


IBM, a global technology leader, is at the forefront of groundbreaking innovations. Prometeo, powered by IBM, monitors firefighter toxin exposure, safeguarding the health of those who risk their lives in the line of duty. In response to the escalating challenges posed by wildfires and natural disasters, this solution, now available as Pyrrha, extends its reach as an open-source project.

Descartes Labs 

Descartes Labs specializes in geospatial data analytics and uses AI and machine learning to analyze satellite imagery, weather data, and historical fire data to predict and monitor wildfires.

Aon Benfield

Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance and risk management company, has developed an analytics platform called ELEMENTS that uses machine learning to provide wildfire risk assessment and modeling for insurers and risk managers.


Technosylva provides wildfire modeling and decision support systems that incorporate AI and machine learning. Their solutions help firefighting agencies predict and manage wildfires more effectively.

Wildfire Defense Systems

Wildfire Defense Systems offers a range of services, including AI-powered wildfire risk assessment and management for insurance companies and property owners.

4. Communication Systems: Beyond Radios

The traditional crackling of a radio transmission has been the lifeline of firefighters for decades. However, the future points toward integrated communication systems that offer robust, real-time data sharing. Augmented reality (AR) headsets could overlay maps, structural plans, and exit routes onto a firefighter’s field of view, while providing a platform for hands-free communication with the rest of the team.

Notable companies providing communication systems for firefighters include:

Motorola Solutions 

Motorola Solutions offers a wide range of communication solutions for public safety, including firefighters. They provide advanced radio systems, as well as data applications and mission-critical communication platforms designed to enhance situational awareness and collaboration.

L3 Harris Technologies

XL Extreme™ 400P NFPA compliant | L3Harris® Fast. Forward.

Harris Corporation, which has since merged with L3 Technologies to become L3Harris Technologies, specializes in communication systems for various industries, including public safety. They offer advanced radio systems and integrated solutions for firefighters.


Firecom, a trusted name in communication solutions for firefighters, introduces a game-changer with their Wireless Headsets at Work. Recognizing that the distinction between preparedness and unpreparedness often hinges on crucial seconds of communication, Firecom's wireless headsets redefine how command, crew, and dispatch stay connected. Whether you're inside the truck, by the pump panel, conducting a building assessment, or managing extractions, Firecom's innovative wireless headsets ensure constant and reliable communication, reinforcing the key link in those critical moments of firefighting operations.

5. Thermal Imaging Cameras

Handheld or wearable thermal imaging cameras have become more compact and user-friendly, providing critical information about fire spread, trapped individuals, and structural integrity. These thermal imaging cameras empower firefighting teams to make informed decisions swiftly and efficiently. Their portability and intuitive operation contribute to improved response times and overall effectiveness in addressing the complex challenges posed by fire emergencies.

Notable companies building thermal imaging cameras include:


Manufactured by FLIR Systems, a leader in thermal imaging technology, the K55 is engineered to provide firefighters with critical insights in challenging environments. This rugged and user-friendly camera enables first responders to visualize heat through smoke, locate hotspots, and assess the extent of a fire. With its high-resolution thermal imaging capabilities, the FLIR K55 enhances situational awareness, allowing firefighting teams to make informed decisions swiftly and efficiently. 

Bosch AVIOTEC 8000i IR

Manufactured by Bosch, a renowned leader in technology solutions, this camera combines advanced video analytics with infrared capabilities for early fire detection. The AVIOTEC 8000i IR is equipped with intelligent algorithms to identify smoke and flames, providing early warnings even in challenging conditions. Its integration with infrared technology enhances detection accuracy, making it an ideal solution for critical environments.

SeekThermal FirePRO 

Designed for the demands of firefighting with precision engineering, the FirePRO X stands out as a cutting-edge wearable thermal camera. This high-performance device equips firefighters with advanced imaging capabilities, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to enable swift detection of heat sources.

6. Augmented Reality (AR) Systems

AR systems can overlay critical information, such as building blueprints or hazard locations, onto the real-world view of firefighters, aiding in navigation and decision-making. By seamlessly integrating critical data into the real-world environment, these systems go beyond conventional approaches. Firefighters equipped with AR technology can access real-time information on structural details, escape routes, and the location of fellow team members. This transformative extension allows for enhanced coordination during operations, facilitating more efficient communication and collaboration within the firefighting team. 

Notable companies providing augmented reality (AR) systems include:

Avatar Partners ARDA software

The Augmented Reality Decision Aid (ARDA) software by AVATAR offers mixed/extended reality experiences tailored for firefighter training. What sets ARDA apart is the integration of haptics, allowing for sensory feedback such as the smell of smoke and the feel of heat through wearable training gear. This dynamic approach creates a comprehensive virtual fire experience that engages multiple senses. 

Fire Vision AR

This AR technology allows for the seamless integration of essential data, such as building layouts, hazard locations, and real-time incident updates. With Fire Vision AR, firefighters gain an immersive and dynamic perspective that aids navigation, coordination, and response strategies in complex emergency scenarios. 

7. Health Monitoring Devices

Wearable devices that monitor vital signs, such as heart rate and body temperature, helping ensuring the well-being of firefighters during operations. Additionally, advanced health monitoring devices can offer early warnings for signs of heat stress or exhaustion, enabling proactive measures to mitigate potential health risks. As technology continues to advance, the fusion of health monitoring devices with firefighting gear exemplifies a commitment to prioritizing the physical health and safety of those on the front lines.

Notable companies providing health monitoring devices include:

DiagnoseEarly Firefighter Wearable

The DiagnoseEarly wearable, specifically designed for firefighters, offers vital health monitoring features such as heart rate and skin temperature tracking, along with sleep quality assessment to understand the impact of callouts on overall health. Its robust, waterproof construction and long battery life of up to 7 days make it ideal for the demanding conditions faced by firefighters, and it includes custom apps for iOS and Android, with options for a smartwatch or fitness band.

Sensorcon Inspector (CO) INS2-CO-01

Sensorcon CO Inspector front view - Assembled in the USA

The Sensorcon Inspector (CO) INS2-CO-01 stands as a reliable ally for firefighters, dedicated to swiftly detecting and identifying carbon monoxide (CO) sources during critical fire and rescue operations. With the ability to provide real-time readings spanning from 0 to 2000 PPM, this tool is indispensable for professionals engaged in monitoring and inspecting for carbon monoxide, ensuring a proactive and vigilant approach to potential hazards in the field.

Equivital ’s eq02+ Life monitor

This innovative device provides multiparameter data, including heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and position and motion. It integrates a clinical-grade wearable ECG and respiratory monitor, an inbuilt medical-grade thermometer, and a tri-axis accelerometer. Designed to be robust and water-resistant, this ATEX-cleared monitor is securely worn against the chest, ensuring freedom of movement while enduring the toughest conditions. 

Final Thoughts

The future of firefighting technology is not a distant dream; it is an imminent reality. As these technologies become more integrated into the industry, they promise to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of firefighting operations, all while offering better protection to the public and the environment.

The flame of innovation burns bright, and with every technological advance, we get closer to a future where the destructive power of fire meets its match in our ability to contain and extinguish it. For those brave men and women who face the inferno, the future of firefighting technology offers not just new tools, but a new dawn of enhanced safety and capabilities in their noble quest to save lives.


Helping firefighters

to understand the health risks related to toxin exposure