Real-Time Emergency Communication System for HazMat Incidents (REaCH)

This research project addresses two issues related to the health of transportation workers and the public in the presence of hazardous materials. They are: (1) Real-time information on the exposure of hazardous materials to transportation workers and first responders during hazardous material incidents is lacking; and (2) Currently, the ability to identify and communicate information regarding hazardous material incidents in real time to all stakeholders is limited. At the end of this five-year project, the research team will develop a product for a statewide technology system that includes wearable sensor devices, mobile apps and a real-time communication network for all stakeholders that can be used during a hazardous materials incident. The new system is called REaCH - Real-Time Emergency Communication System for HazMat Incidents. The REaCH system will include real-time health monitoring of first responders and transportation workers through wearable devices that monitor exposure to hazardous materials. Year one goals include: (1) Define REaCH system requirements; (2) Conduct focus groups with stakeholders; (3) Survey priorities of stakeholders based on feedback; (4) Partner with local hazardous material response teams to identify health monitoring and exposure data needed over a multi-year period for multiple response scenarios. Determine the accuracy level of data needed; (5) A systematic review of the current state of wearables for HazMat protection, current IoV technology, Intelligent Transportation Systems, and current technology used in the field; (6) Identify wearable devices for emergency first responders and transportation workers that will allow capture of the data for real-time diagnostics on hazardous material releases; (7) Identify current real-time IT medical response systems and identify ways of a) integrating and expanding them for multi-agency use, and b) integrating them with the real-time monitoring data; (8) Develop a research design plan to examine and monitor the health of workers responding to hazardous material incidents; and (9) Prepare IRB.