A Blockbuster Trilogy for First Responders

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is premiering a trio of new resource guides for our partners in law enforcement, the fire and emergency medical services, and emergency management.

Dimitri Kusnezov, Ph.D. Under Secretary for Science and Technology

Our nation’s first responders often don’t seek out the spotlight or consider themselves to be superheroes, but we at S&T know that’s exactly what they are. It’s why S&T has a dedicated research and development (R&D) mission and why we work directly with responders of all disciplines to deliver the technology solutions they need.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of kicking off the annual gathering of our First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) and meeting many of its more than 140 volunteer members, and I’ll say that these heroes did not disappoint. They came ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, and we came ready to listen and document their priorities. It was a thrill to witness firsthand one of the first steps in S&T’s responder R&D lifecycle and also a great source of pride for me being able to brief them on how far we’ve come in delivering what they’ve asked for. For instance, at previous years’ meetings, the FRRG expressed a need for enhanced situational awareness technologies—the impetus for efforts like C-THRU and DePLife™. When they shared a desire for next-generation navigational tools, the seeds were planted for Mappedin and POINTER. And when they requested personal protective equipment to help them breathe easier, well, there’s the Wildland Firefighter Respirator.

All of these and more are documented in S&T’s new series of resource guides: Supporting First Responders Through Science and Technology. The guides aggregate S&T’s available assets and in-process R&D in support of the fire and emergency medical services (EMS), emergency management, and law enforcement. They are living reports that will be updated as our responder mission expands alongside the evolving responder threat and safety landscapes. For the first time, this year’s FRRG-identified priority areas include a big focus on S&T investments in artificial intelligence—to support everything from assessing mass-casualty incidents to analyzing crowd flow at large events to streamlining incident reporting. I can’t wait to keep them (and all of you) posted on how we plan to tackle all of this moving forward.

To our colleagues in blue: we celebrate your commitment and steadfast service this National Police Week. Our Providing Police Backup Through Science and Technology guide was created with your unique requirements in mind, and we look forward to continued collaboration.

To our colleagues in the fire service who recently celebrated International Firefighter Day, as well as those who will soon commemorate the 50th Anniversary of National EMS Week: we remain in awe of your selflessness and stewardship of our communities. Our Fighting Fires and Saving Lives Through Science and Technology guide offers you access to tools that can help you accomplish your important missions safely and efficiently.

And to our colleagues in emergency management who stay cool under pressure: we see you always seeing the big picture. Our Managing Emergency Response with Science and Technology guide curates tools to help you continue to deploy critical resources and manpower wherever they need to go.

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