Courtesy Department of Homeland Security, DHS Snapshots
In June 2013, Urban Search and Rescue team tested the FINDER’s human-finding abilities at the Fairfax County Fire Department training center.
When natural disasters or man-made catastrophes topple buildings, search and rescue teams immediately set out to recover victims trapped beneath the wreckage. During these missions, time is imperative, and quickly detecting living victims greatly increases chances for rescue and survival.
A new radar-based technology named Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) has been developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to detect a human heartbeat buried beneath 30 feet of crushed materials, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet in open spaces. In the past several months,
S&T and JPL have been testing and developing several FINDER prototypes. Last June, DHS and first responders used the prototype to conduct more than 65 test searches with two Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams: the Virginia Task Force One (VA-TF1) at the Fairfax County Fire Department training center and Virginia Task Force Two (VA-TF2) in Virginia Beach, Va.
“Testing proved successful in locating a VA-TF1 member buried in 30 feet of mixed concrete, rebar, and gravel rubble from a distance of over 30 feet,” said John Price, S&T program manager. “This capability will complement the current Urban Search and Rescue tools such as canines, listening devices, and video cameras to detect the presence of living victims in rubble.”