Digitalization in hazard prevention

Fire department & disaster preparedness

Ongoing climate change, demographic shifts and digital networking are having a major impact on the tasks and operational environment of many rescue organizations. Overcoming the emerging challenges demands a fundamental willingness to change and close cooperation across organizational boundaries. Technological innovations that can be integrated seamlessly into operational processes and which can be used intuitively by emergency personnel are a key lever in this process. Application-oriented research projects offer an opportunity to tap this potential in a targeted manner by combining competencies and skills that complement one another. Let's go!

»As a major fire department, we want to engage in dialog with the research community to identify the most pressing issues in the context of digitalization and jointly develop potential solutions. Digitalization is driving disruptive change. We have to try to keep up and make use of what we can. What is needed is a digitalization strategy. We need to ask where digitization can offer benefits, and where not.«  

Dr. Christian Miller
Head of the Cologne Fire Department

Digital support made to order

Selection of reference projects


Networked command and control center

Different data systems, scant information about the situation at the scene and limited scope for intervention – these are often the conditions under which fire brigades have to work today. That is about to change. Fraunhofer FKIE has developed a solution that offers a comprehensive approach. In the future, fire brigades will be supported digitally and provided with information without media discontinuity in a demand-oriented manner.


Live information from burning ships

When a ship burns in port, it is a very special case, as the responsibility lies with the onshore fire brigade. For these firefighters, the countless types of ships and their different structures as well as the unique nature of waterborne operations represent rare and difficult operating conditions. Within the research project »EFAS«, a concept was developed that ensures communication and transmission of critical situational data during ship-based operations. 


German Rescue Robotics Center

Every year in Germany, 1.3 million firefighters carry out some 3.9 million missions and, in the process, are repeatedly exposed to considerable danger to life and limb. In the future, therefore, the goal is to support them with robots. In pursuit of this goal, 13 project partners - among them, Fraunhofer FKIE - launched the »German Rescue Robotics Center«.


Transparency in the maritime transport chain

The »National Single Window« (NSW) is a central official reporting system for German maritime traffic, which primarily collects administrative data of reportable companies and authorities. The aim of the BMVI-funded project »NSW-Plus« is to expand this system with safety-relevant operational data of the entire maritime transport chain and to make it centrally available to all actors.


Robots practice for nuclear emergencies

An accident occurs at nuclear power station; an explosion near the reactor. What is the current situation in the building? Is it in danger of collapse? Has radiation leaked? Using people to clarify the situation is out of the question. Dispatching personnel would be far too dangerous. It all depends on them now: the robots! But are they advanced enough to provide reliable support? The »European Robotics Hackathon (EnRicH)« offers an opportunity to find out.


Drones for search and rescue in disaster areas

Drones equipped with microphone arrays will help rescue workers in disaster areas to find and rescue survivors more quickly. They can detect cries for help and signals from buried victims from the air and simultaneously pinpoint their location. FKIE scientist Macarena Varela has developed this technology.