Paratech Guardian System for Structural Collapse Incidents

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) partnered with Montgomery Country Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) and Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) to procure a Paratech Guardian system for each department. The Paratech Guardian system monitors and alerts fire personnel to a change in dynamics during a structural collapse incident. Adding this device to the structural collapse capabilities in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties will improve on-scene intelligence and safety for department members and civilians.

A structural collapse event is a precarious incident to respond to for fire departments. The on-scene emergency responders have to investigate and understand the configuration of a comprised building before crafting a rescue and stabilization plan. However, the dynamics of the building can quickly shift to compromise and impede rescue efforts. The equipment currently deployed by MCFRS and PGFD cannot detect sudden structural changes. Without that capability, any significant shift can threaten the safety of trapped individuals or fire personnel operating within the collapsed structure.

MCFRS and PGFD have tested and incorporated the Paratech Guardian system into their structural collapse equipment inventory to enhance monitoring capabilities and provide immediate notification of changes to a comprised building. This device integrates into scaffolding constructed within a building collapse to alert for changes in weight load, detect vibrations, and changes to angle inclines. In consultation with engineers, the user configures the Paratech Guardian to monitor for alterations outside of a preset range. If the system detects a shift outside of the determined range, an alarm is triggered, and an alert is sent to a mobile device monitored by fire personnel. The instantaneous notification will allow fire personnel to exit a structure before a potential secondary collapse. After firefighters exit the structure, emergency responders can reevaluate the scene and adjust the Paratech Guardian system accordingly.

Incorporating the Paratech Guardian will bolster the monitoring capabilities of MCFRS and PGFD to improve the safety of all individuals during a structural collapse response.

The Paratech Guardian was procured through MDERS’s Innovation Fund. This program supports innovative solutions to meet MDERS’s strategic goals and confront emerging threats. The procurement of the Paratech Guardian underwent testing and approval by MCFRS and PGFD personnel. This project is scalable and future funding may be available to further grow the capability within each department.