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FEMA awards $1 Million to WPI to develop groundbreaking toxic gas sensors for firefighters
Date:9/19/2012

ken by WPI's Fire Protection Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments.

Research and testing of the new toxic gas sensors will be made possible through a combination of WPI expertise and support from fire officials statewide. The proposed sensor will be tested and refined through rigorous work in WPI's new Fire Protection Lab at Gateway Park.

A prototype sensor will be tested at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow during training exercises for overall durability and usability. The devices will then be worn by 10 Worcester firefighters during 10 incident responses within the next year and data will be collected to evaluate their effectiveness.

WPI's continued efforts to support the fire service stem, in part, from the 1999 Cold Storage Warehouse fire in Worcester, Mass., in which six firefighters died when they became lost in dense smoke inside the windowless building.

"Receiving this grant is special because it solidifies the faith FEMA and other national organizations have in WPI's ability to conduct research that can improve the lives of firefighters and first responders everywhere," said Notarianni.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who has been a proponent of WPI's fire safety efforts over the years, commended WPI on the grant. "WPI's commitment to finding innovative solutions to some of the most challenging fire service issues is very impressive," said McGovern. "I'm confident WPI's latest research will bring us closer to developing a fire safety product that will help first responders worldwide. I will continue to support WPI's initiatives in this important field."

During the application process, WPI received numerous letters of support from local, regional, and national firefighting organizations about the prospect of developing a toxic gas sensor.

Lori Moore-Merrell, assistant to the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washi
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Contact: Andrew Baron
ajbaron@wpi.edu
508-831-5916
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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