The First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) is an all-volunteer working group that includes 150 members of state, local, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services, emergency management and other disciplines. Its goal and mission is to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) focus on the top-priority needs of first responders and maximize their safety, effectiveness, and preparedness in the field. Once a year, the FRRG meets with DHS S&T to discuss their capability gaps and requirements; determine priorities for the coming year; and discuss progress on current projects, initiatives, and technologies that S&T has been developing on its behalf. This year’s 2019 annual conference recently took place in San Diego.
“At the FRRG annual meeting, we had an opportunity to hear new ideas from around the country and get these ideas to the appropriate resources that can help us solve capability gaps in our industry,” said Assistant Chief Lori Brill, Golden Gate Fire Protection District. “The meeting served as a valuable opportunity for us to network and hear about how other agencies do things and deal with similar obstacles.”
Another highlight of the meeting was discussions surrounding the transitions and expansions of S&T’s various technologies. Due to positive feedback from the FRRG, S&T transitioned technologies such as the Automated Driver and Responder Alerting System, Burn Saver, and Respiratory Projection for Firefighters during Overhaul in 2018, and also put out a wide range of new solicitations to the public. Technologies of interest listed in these solicitations included real-time indoor visualization systems for low visibility fire environments, three dimensional x-ray technology, and GPS trackers and biometric monitoring for detainees. FRRG members also chose topics for solicitations that S&T will release to the public in 2020, including real-time translation for responders and dispatch, response vehicle air quality, and the development of a next-generation firefighter helmet.
Overall, both S&T and the FRRG have had a successful year. Thanks to their collaboration and S&T’s engagement with various industry partners, S&T has:
32 projects being managed for various initiatives
8 active projects
8 projects transitioning to the commercial market place
20 projects that have successfully transitioned to the commercial market place
S&T’s Response and Defeat Operations are also working to continue development and implementation of various research and development initiatives, assessments, partnerships and publications.
“I was happy to see how successfully we have been able to work with the FRRG to identify some of the capability gaps that our country’s first responders face daily,” said S&T Program Manager Milt Nenneman. “Thanks to strong relationships with our industry partners and their ongoing hard work and innovation, we are able to create technological solutions and apply them to the emergency response environment. There’s no limit to what we can do.”