NO ONE LEFT BEHIND: First Responders and the Need for Real-Time Location Tracking

Albert Baker
Albert Baker

Chief Operations Officer


First Responders and the Need for Real-Time Location Tracking

Every day, firefighters put their lives on the line to rescue others and protect the communities they serve. In many instances, this high-risk profession requires the entry of buildings without any knowledge of floorplans and limited visibility due to smoke intensity. A firefighter must not only navigate through this precarious environment to locate casualties or extinguish fire but must also find a route to safety while avoiding deteriorating structures. Despite the remarkable technological advancements the world has seen over the recent decades, innovation to address this problem has not substantially progressed. Today’s state-of-the-art equipment for navigating emergency environments too often relies on word of mouth or, Guidelines – (little more than a rope deployed to help a firefighters retrace their steps) and remote guidance via radio (voice) communication.  

This system provides little confidence to a firefighter in the field nor to those commanding operations on the outside. Paths traversed on the way in can often become blocked as a means of escape and voice comms can only work if both parties are able to communicate with a shared overview of the situation. What happens if a responder is incapacitated for any reason and cannot call for help? How would commanders and other firefighters know their location? The International Forum to Advance First Response Innovation (IFAFRI) has recognized the limitations of the industry’s current safety solutions and has identified the real-time tracking of first responders as the number one capability gap to be addressed to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the world’s first responders. 


We are looking to better understand the perspectives of active firefighters in regard to first response innovation. If you are a firefighter or are related to the first response industry, please consider filling out a short survey to help advance first response innovation and research.

The development of this capability is essential now more than ever as the world is steadily entering an increasingly precarious period characterized by rapid climate change and unstable geopolitical states. These realities have already led to a rise in both natural and man-made disasters, which are only predicted to increase over time. On top of this, a steady decline in volunteer firefighters has been recorded across the board as unmet expectations for responder safety have increased. The world must be better prepared to handle the challenges ahead, meaning this gap can no longer remain.   

While various companies have sought to meet IFAFRI’s call to action, none have been able to create a solution robust enough to monitor first responders in real-time across dynamic environments in an efficient, holistic, economical and reliable manor. Given the nature of the problem and the purpose of such innovation, all stakeholders – this including emergency services, public and government agencies, NGOs, public and private investors, and the general public – have a crucial role to play in improving fire fighter resilience, closing the technology gap and preparing for times of greater need ahead.   

With a robust roadmap in place, Danalto sees this global problem with fresh eyes. A Dublin-based positioning intelligence company with years of radio communications systems experience, Danalto foresees a dynamic positioning solution that will support the needs of First Responders, where next generation, low-power and ultra-precise wireless technologies will be smartly combined into a single platform to produce a reliable, absolute location coordinate in real-time.  Such a system would uniquely need to provide seamless tracking throughout indoor and outdoor environments with minimal setup, if any, and would fuse building blueprint databases for improved indoor navigation.  

Danalto believes the time is now to close IFAFRI’s gap for good and to step up and protect the protectors of our society. This belief closely aligns with the Resilience Advisory Network (RAN) which have supported the aims and objectives of IFAFRI for many years in raising awareness of technology gaps in firefighter capabilities. RAN has partnered with Danalto to support location tracking innovation for first responders and recently represented Danalto at the Intershutz fire and rescue conference in Hannover, Germany where they were met with positive responses for the vision to disrupt and improve operational safety for Firefighters and First Responders alike. 

 “We were delighted to learn of Danalto’s ambitions for FiLoR and to hear of their commitment to making operations safer for those that deliver fire and rescue services.  We will be now providing professional Advisors to this initiative to make sure that development accelerates and that products are tried and tested in realistic conditions with as much awareness as possible of the work across Europe.” 

Jon Hall, RAN Managing Director

If you wish to be updated on the progress of Danalto’s First Response initiative, please follow Danalto on LinkedIn and Twitter at @danalto_tech, or contact to learn more about participating as a test/trial partner. 

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