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In support of the TechSolutions Program within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) conducted an independent and comprehensive operational field assessment of the commercially-available Remote Access Firefighting Assistance Vehicle (RAFAV) which is manufactured by Howe and Howe Technologies. The purpose of the field assessment was to provide an opportunity for firefighters to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the RAFAV during simulated emergency response operations to determine if it would be a valuable tool for the firefighting community.
The RAFAV is a remotely controlled, tracked vehicle to assist firefighting activities. It has the capability to tow charged and uncharged hose lines for water supply to its remotely controlled monitor nozzle. This allows the RAFAV to be used as a portable hydrant for water supply and allows water delivery through the monitor nozzle or two connections for additional handlines.
The field assessment was executed on August 8 - 9, 2012, at a firefighting training facility at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow, Massachusetts, with the assistance of Academy personnel and Howe and Howe Technologies. The results of the field assessment are based on the cumulative opinions of the test subjects, which were recorded throughout the assessment.
The results of the field assessment indicate that the RAFAV is highly efficient in providing a remotely-controlled water supply. The overall opinion of the test subjects is that the RAFAV is easy to operate, extremely rugged, durable, and field repairable; the test subjects indicated the firefighting community would benefit from the technology. The test subjects also provided valuable recommendations to enhance the usability of the RAFAV.