DHS Demos Integrated First Responder Safety Tech; John Merrill Comments

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has demonstrated methods to integrate technologies as part of a program that aims to help protect first responders as they perform their duties.

DHS said Tuesday it combined physiological and environmental sensors, video stream from body-attached cameras and unmanned aerial systems and hybrid communications tools during the demonstration that required law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to coordinate.

The demonstration is part of the Next Generation First Responder program that aims to develop standards for public safety agencies commercial products and modify technologies in order to fulfill their mission goals.

“The proliferation of miniaturized sensors, affordable UAS and Internet of Things devices can make a tremendous impact on first responder safety, connectivity, and situational awareness,” said John Merrill, NGFR program manager for DHS.

“However, if the technology doesn’t seamlessly share data, it loses its viability within the public safety sector,” added Merrill.

DHS plans to conduct future demonstrations with the goal to incorporate additional technologies and see how they integrate with the NGFR system.