WIT Press

Technical Survey About Available Technologies For Detecting Buried People Under Rubble Or Avalanches


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

91 - 101




539 kb


V. Ferrara


Among all activities carried out in disaster scenarios, such as collapsed buildings, earthquakes, and avalanches, the detection and rescue of buried or trapped people have the priority. The paper aims at presenting the progress in the technological development of electronic devices and systems used to detect people buried under rubbles or avalanches. Many technologies realize detection, but only electromagnetic ones assure best results in terms of speed and accuracy of a relief, working also in a noisy environment. We can divide the methodologies using electromagnetic propagation in the three main. One is based on detection of active or passive electronic devices carried by the victim; the second one detects the body of a person as perturbation of the backscattered electromagnetic wave, due to dielectric discontinuity in the medium; the third case is based on the detection of vital signs. Both last two methodologies can be suitable for detecting people trapped under rubbles that can be free to move, also partially. More frequently, a buried person is motionless, because he is unconscious or the ruins block him. Consequently, the detection of vital signs, such as heartbeat or breathing, is the unique possible only. Performances and limits of each method is presented in the article, together with possible innovations.


rescue, people buried and trapped, GPR, avalanche beacon