July 20, 2004

HPWREN's First Night Time Incident Response Deployment

On Tuesday, July 13, 2004 (at 4:45pm), the HPWREN staff received a request for a data communications setup from the San Diego California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) Emergency Command Center Chief. This ad-hoc connectivity would support firefighters working to control the Mataguay Fire. Since the ICP was at the same location as last year's Coyote Fire, the same relay sites were used for the deployment. By the time the installation team and equipment were assembled, and the team was at the installation sites, it was beginning to get dark, requiring to make this HPWREN's first night time ad-hoc deployment for incident communications. The team was on site until after 11PM.

Prior to the connection request, HPWREN already collected fire images via ad-hoc cameras in Ramona and installed cameras elsewhere. An approximately 15MB time lapse animation was shown that evening on the local NBC station.

Mataguay Fire

The image shows the connection from the Cuyamaca Mountains HPWREN backbone site to the relay location on the Palomar Mountain range, and from there to a second relay on a small hill near the ICP camp site. The final link went to the camp itself where a local network connected the link to various trailers.

The Mataguay Fire incident was the third HPWREN ICP deployment, following the Coyote Fire about a year earlier, and the Eagle Fire in May this year. Photos of the Mataguay Fire deployment can be found at http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20040714. The CDF summary about the Mataguay Fire incident is available on their web site.

With the advances in firefighting operations, on Friday, July 19, 2004, the ICP site was shut down and the HPWREN connection dismantled.

The repeated successful deployment of the National Science Foundation funded HPWREN wireless ad-hoc incident management connectivity prototype has shown that high performance networking is a viable option even for these kind of remote-location scenarios, and that with some planning and experience the deployment times can be significantly reduced, and even undertaken after dark. In addition, more and more technlogy and expertise transfer to first responders is being seen during the continued collaborations.

"Each time the HPWREN system is deployed I become both more familiar with, and aware of the technology behind it," says Dan Pagni, Fire Captain at the CDF Monte Vista Emergency Command Center. "This allows me to think of ways of fitting the technology into situations I deal with on a daily basis. I guess it's sort of a feed back loop." Ron Serabia, retired CDF Captain, adds "use of a high-speed wireless network for data transfer and access on an incident is a valuable tool for first responders, as no other option is available without a reasonable delay. Besides with advances in technology and expertise a transfer of greater values to first responders may be seen during the continued collaborations."

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