DC integrates data analytics to optimize firefighters’ performance

Durham College (DC) is taking training opportunities to the next level for students in the Firefighter – Pre-Service, Education and Training (PFET) program with the integration of data analytics into the Environmental Stress Workshop they participate in at the ACE research and testing facility. In the workshop, students execute simulated firefighting activities under conditions of extreme heat and cold and first aid procedures in the back of a moving ambulance.

Using real-time data streaming and data analytics features, PFET students can track their personal physiological responses through heart and breathing-rate measures while participating in the training. The analysis aims to help students better understand how the human body responds in emergency scenarios so they can work on increasing their resilience and optimizing their performance in real-life situations.

Researchers from DC’s Fitness and Health Promotion program (Dr. Michael Williams-Bell) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) Faculty of Business and Information Technology (Dr. Carolyn McGregor) and Faculty of Health Sciences (Dr. Bernadette Murphy) incorporated wearable devices to monitor physiological measures and developed the data analytics for the workshop.

The addition of data analytics to the Environmental Stress Workshop is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between DC and UOIT under the Innovative Initiatives Fund (IIF). In the fund’s inaugural year, the IIF Committee awarded $109,051 to the proposed ACE Centre for Firefighting project.

The IIF was established to support collaborative projects by employees of both institutions that inspire further innovation on campus and within the broader community.