Nepal Disaster Aid Comes From Paul Walker's Non-Profit & Pasadena Firefighters

Tonight, the Pasadena City Council is honoring several of its firefighters for work above and beyond the call of duty. The three include Fire Engineer Dave Marquez, Paramedic Matt Caffey and Captain Tim Okimura. The went to Nepal on their own time to help in the disaster zone after the 7.8 Nepal quake.

According to fire department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian, "They provided medical care to over 400 people, set up food distribution sites, water systems and left tents and other supplies to help them rebuild." They went as part of a team from Reach Out Worldwide.

Reach Out Worldwide, ROWW, is a non-profit that was started by the late actor Paul Walker. Its website states "Reach Out WorldWide is committed to fulfilling the legacy of our founder, Paul Walker. Delivery of essential aid to those affected by a disaster can be life-saving... teams of medical experts and disaster relief professionals immediately respond when disaster strikes." Walker's brother Cody took over the CEO position after the actor died. On the site are many pictures and tributes to Paul Walker.

Just down the 210 freeway from Pasadena City Hall is NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

James Lux is a scientist at JPL and headed up a team that created a high-tech "finder" which has one job and that's to look for heartbeats. Lux says, "we're actually detecting the motion of the human from their heartbeat." Humans buried under rubble as a result of a disaster.

Lux says the device can detect a heartbeat even if it is faint.

Up to now, rescuing victims in the rubble of devastating earthquakes has involved high tech infrared gear, dogs or even listening devices. Lux says until now the right technologies haven't existed in the same universe to create a simple portable "heartbeat" finder. Adds Lux,"It's a combination of the technologies that are available. The technology for measuring heartbeats has been around for 40 years at least. But, it was a bench full of equipment and required a PH.d to operate it."

The "Finder" just requires a small case, the size of one for an airplane's overhead compartment, and a tablet or smartphone to display a heartbeat.

Lux adds that the "Finder" has a pretty large range of 90 degrees in both directions and can measure an entire building. It can operate on a battery power of about 14 hours and can detect a heartbeat as far as 30 feet down and from as much as 20 feet away.

When we talked with firefighter Dave Marquez he told us that as far as he's concerned "The most effective means in the industry is still a K9 detection unit." But, he seemed very open to the idea of JPL's The Finder.

Dave Marquez was in Nepal for 7 days. The Pasadena Firefighter was there on his own time as part of Walker's Reach Out Worldwide.

So far, he's been deployed to 5 disaster zones including Haiti, Chile and Nepal. Would The Finder be helpful in the field?

Here's what he said about the "Finder," "I think it's great. It sounds like an exciting piece of technology. it's coming from great science development and as a rescue technician I think anything that is going to enable us to differentiate between a live victim and a dead victim and possibly focusing our operations on an area where they are needed... I think it's a good think."

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