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Up to EUR 500,000 EU funding to optimize the operations of rescue departments

2/4/2019 9:05 AM

Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) and Kajaani City have received Horizon 2020 project funding to implement a 3D visual application to enhance the operations of municipal rescue departments. KAMK and the City of Kajaani are part of a project consortium including more than twenty different organizations across Eu-rope, which applied for funding. The umbrella scheme is worth EUR 6.9 million, of which KAMK and the City of Kajaani have received nearly EUR 500,000.

Kainuu has been assigned major responsibility in the project, which involves three pilot schemes, one of which is managed entirely in Kajaani. The pilot will result in a prototype of a 3D visual application to improve rescue operations. The project will be implemented in cooperation with KAMK's Information Systems competence area, the Kajaani City Environmental Technology Department and Kainuu Rescue Department. It is crucial that companies and authorities also participate in the project to offer their expertise.

The project will start with the development of operational models related to automatic fire alarm procedures. Automatically triggered fire alarms account for approximately 200-270 (approx. 12%) of all the emergencies handled by the Kainuu Rescue Department. In such cases, the task of the first rescue unit is to locate the fire alarm control unit, which provides information on the fire detector emitting the alarm. Next, the rescue unit must locate the device and take appropriate action, such as extinguishing the fire, evacuating the building, or verifying that the alarm was caused by a fault and restoring the detector to working order. Depending on the size of the building and structure of the device, it may take several minutes to find and reach the premises where the alarm has been given.

The project is responding to this challenge with the help of modern technology to create a real-time snapshot of the exact location and conditions of the emergency, as well as of the location and number of people who may need to be rescued, before the rescue unit arrives at the scene. A prototype system, which will be activated as soon as a fire alarm is triggered and guide the rescue crew to the exact location of the emergency by the optimal route while providing information on persons at the location, will be created. To do so, a 3D or 2D floor plan complete with information on the sensor system and the building’s automated systems, will be set up on a digital platform. The system enables the rescue crew to gain a more detailed snapshot of the situation that can be viewed for example, on a computer or smart device.

“Such a system will enable a faster and more accurate response by the rescue crew on reaching the destina-tion,” says Janne Heikkinen, Risk Manager at Kainuu Rescue Department. 

The development of the prototype will not affect messages passing through the emergency response system but works alongside existing systems. According to Janne Heikkinen, if the prototype proves to be compatible with older systems, it will also be possible to expand its use to other rescue departments. 

Lehtikangas Community Center as the focus of the pilot system

The pilot project will be conducted in Lehtikangas Community Center, a multipurpose building in Kajaani. The community center houses a primary school, kindergarten, sports facilities and a library. Up to 1000 people, mostly children, are present in the building during the day. This building was selected for the pilot because a 3D model of it already exists and it is a new building with technology enabling the testing of several different sen-sor technologies. The implementation of the pilot scheme will pay particular attention to information security, the physical location of the system, and communication channels will be protected using state-of-the-art meth-ods. The project will also produce a video that will be used to guide schoolchildren in rescue drills and provide fire safety education.

First H2020 funding for Kajaani University of Applied Sciences 

The awarded H2020 funding is very significant. “Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences have been involved in 179 different H2020 funding applications in the 2014-2020 programme period. 11 projects have progressed from the application process to receiving funding,” says Tuula Haverinen, Project Specialist at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences.

In all, universities of applied sciences have been awarded 1% of H2020 projects coming to Finland. KAMK had applied for such projects 15 times in the last four years before receiving its first decision of approval. 

According to the President of KAMK, Matti Sarén, “Obtaining funding is a sign that KAMK’s work and expertise are valued. Kajaani University of Applied Sciences is known for combining global measurement technology and simulation and extensive VR/AR (virtual reality / augmented reality) expertise in various industries.”

Horizon2020 is an EU programme research and innovation fund for the years 2014-2020 worth nearly EUR 80 billion. The Horizon2020 programme helps to create new growth and employment in Europe. H2020 covers three different areas: top scientific research, industrial domination and social challenges. The Horizon2020 programme funds projects which create European added value and impact. The projects are mainly implemented through international cooperation.

Further information:

Matti Sarén
Kajaanin University of Applied Sciences
+358 44 7101 600

Janne Heikkinen
Risk Manager
Kainuu Rescue Department
p. +358 44 750 2233

Tuula Haverinen
Project Specialist
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
p. +358 44 7101 008