It was announce on Tuesday November 20th that through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is partnering with industry to evaluate first responder technologies. DHS, industry partners and 13 local Houston-area public safety agencies will integrate existing first responder technology with DHS-developed and commercial technology during a HAZMAT scenario. The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) – Harris County Operational Experimentation (OpEx) is scheduled to take place December 4-5 at the Port of Houston.

“Today’s first responders must have advanced technology to communicate and provide situational awareness as they face dangerous and evolving threats,” said William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “Most importantly, these next generation technologies need to be interoperable in coordinated response efforts.”

DHS S&T and industry partners are providing technologies such as responder and patient physiological monitoring sensors, indoor location tracking, HAZMAT sensors, smart alerting for responders and incident command, advanced data analytics, and situational awareness and collaboration dashboards. The integration will use open standards from the NGFR Integration Handbook.

Industry partners and their respective technology included in this agreement are:

-Ares Security Corporation and Command Bridge will provide first responder situational awareness;
-AT&T Corporation and Rocket IOT will provide communication for first response;
-Centrex Solutions and Night Jar will provide communication for first response;
-Compusult Limited and Sensor Hub will provide sensor hub capabilities;
-Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Information Sharing Analysis Center (ISAC) Inc. LifeRing will provide situational awareness;
-Haystax Technology, Inc. and Constellation will provide situational awareness; Intrepid Networks, LLC, and Intrepid Response will provide situational awareness;
-Keys Net LLC and its technology Physiological Sensor will provide first responder physiological monitoring;
-MobileIron and SENSEI will provide mobile device management; and
-TRX Systems, Inc. and NEON will provide indoor and outdoor location data for security, public safety and industrial applications.

The OpEx will also evaluate technology from the following DHS partner performers:

-Pacific Northwest National Labs and its VitalTag patient monitoring technology;
-NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s AUDREY artificial intelligence and situational awareness technology; and
-Ardent MC’s FRESH Router to implement data standards of the NGFR architecture.

“The CRADA provides DHS and industry partners the opportunity to learn about the interoperability and integration requirements of a coordinated urban response,” said Sridhar Kowdley, Director of the NGFR – Harris County OpEx. “We hope that the outcomes from the OpEx will provide insight and help us develop recommendations for first responder technology integration for public safety agencies in both urban and rural communities across the nation.”

S&T’s NGFR program mission is focused on developing technologies for the responder of the future that will keep them better protected, connected and fully aware.

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