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New technology applications in hazardous materials operations

Jill L. Drury, ScD, Mark Micire, MS, Holly A. Yanco, PhD


The authors have been investigating novel ways to apply technology to enhance response to fast-paced, complex, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incidents. Although there are many uses of Global Positioning System, Radio Frequency Identification, simple radio frequency transmitter/sensor devices, and multitouch display technologies, these technologies have only made their way into the HAZMAT community in limited ways. Based on an investigation of the technology needs of HAZMAT responders, the authors developed an approach to combine these technologies to address the observed safety, situation awareness, and efficiency shortfalls. This article describes the proposed approach and provides the results of an investigation into its acceptance and likely utility. During lowfidelity prototype-based user tests and structured interviews, certified HAZMAT responders gave high scores to the usefulness of the proposed functionality and its likely helpfulness in maintaining safety


emergency response, low-fidelity prototyping, user testing, information technology, HAZMAT

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