John Merrill, Acting Director, First Responders and Detection, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate
Today’s first responders face dangerous, evolving threats, and are often equipped with proprietary technologies that restrict their ability to communicate between agencies at the incident scene. Responders need access to advanced, interoperable, plug-and-play technologies that can augment their existing capabilities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Next Generation First Responder program (NGFR) held a series of integration demonstrations and experiments to test, evaluate and showcase interoperable technologies, including DHS-funded technologies, commercially-developed technologies and existing first responder systems. Most importantly this series demonstrated how integrated capabilities can increase operational coordination, enhance operational communications, improve responder safety, and augment situational awareness.