First response

  • Bomb threat? There’s an app for that

    In the first chaotic moments after suspicion of a bomb threat, first responders have a myriad of questions, assessments, and decisions to make, all at once, and all the while the scene could be changing rapidly: Is the bomb real? How large is the potential blast radius? Where will we evacuate people? Are there any critical infrastructure or special-needs population centers in the vicinity? Any schools, hospitals nearby? What roads should be closed? Which roads should stay open for evacuees? There are many more questions, many more uncertainties; DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and its private sector partners have now developed a must-have app: the First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) for computers and smartphones

  • Clay-based coating holds promise of green flame retardants

    The thick, fast-forming coating has a uniformly high concentration of flame-inhibiting clay particles, and it adheres strongly to the Swiss cheese-like surface of polyurethane foam, which is used in furniture cushions, carpet padding, children’s car seats, and other items

  • Container ships as offshore platforms for direct support to disaster zones

    DARPA’s Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program has completed the design of technologies to transform commercial container ships into self-contained floating supply bases during disaster relief operations, without needing port infrastructure

  • Mega-quake hotspots around the world

    The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed large sections of the capital, Port au Prince; the clock is ticking on many earthquake faults throughout the world, and a comprehensive new book points to places around the world that could face the fate of Port au Prince

  • Safety profiles protect people, pets, and emergency responders

    Sixty-three percent of all U.S. households have a pet, the highest level in two decades; there are 78.2 million dog and 86.4 million cat owners, with more than half stating they would leap into action for an injured pet; registering pets in the owner’s safety profile would allow for safer, and more successful, rescue by first responders during emergencies

  • Rescue dogs from across U.S. to participate in certification exercise

    Rescue dogs and their handler teams must be re-certified every three years; the certification includes command control, agility tests, barking alert skills, and willingness to overcome fears of tunnels and wobbly surfaces under the guidance of the handler

  • Private, public partners in Illinois CBRN emergency drill

    First responders and authorities in Lake and Cook counties, Illinois, joined Army Reserve units to conduct Exercise Red Dragon 2012, a chemical, nuclear response exercise

  • Harris awarded DHS communications contract with a $3 billion potential value

    Harris has been awarded a 5-year, IDIQ DHS contract to support tactical communications for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its partner agencies; the contract has a $3 billion ceiling

  • Space Data, partners test high-altitude disaster communication

    Since 2004, Space Data has logged more than 250,000 flight hours in near space altitudes between 65,000 and 90,000 feet in conducting more than 20,000 flights of its balloon-borne platforms; near space technology has become a critical communications relay capability for the U.S. military, particularly for deployed forces overseas; the FCC wants this technology to be available for first responders

  • High altitude-based emergency communication system

    Oceus Network will conduct a test of its emergency communication system in high altitude: it will place its 4G LTE Xiphos portable 4G LTE broadband network on a balloon which will carry Xiphos to near-space altitude; by placing an emergency communication system on an airborne platform, a zone of coverage is created to restore critical communications in the first hours after a catastrophic event

  • Movie-like emergency training system for law enforcement

    Raytheon’s VIRTSIM law-enforcement training system employs licensed motion-capture technology similar to that used in movies such as “Lord of the Rings,” “Avatar,” and, most recently, “The Avengers”; the system is being offered to the law enforcement community as an affordable, twenty-first century alternative to outdated training practices that do little to replicate real-life situations

  • LoJack technology helps in two rescue efforts

    Two services from LoJack allow police to rescue two young kids in a stolen car, and locate an 82-year olf man who wondered away from home

  • Hughes shows Emergency Networking Solutions ahead of hurricane season

    According to the National Hurricane Center, the 2011 hurricane season’s biggest event — Hurricane Irene — caused more than $15 billion in damage and killed forty-nine people; this year, projections are mixed, as meteorologists predict fewer named storms but greater proximity to the U.S. coastline

  • Improving fast-moving mobile networks

    Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) allow people in multiple, rapidly-moving vehicles to communicate with each other – a useful technology in for emergency-response situations or soldiers under fire; researchers have devised a method to improve the quality and efficiency of data transmission in these networks

  • Direct-mail list company adds emergency responder mailing lists

    The growing attention to preparing for, coping with, and recovering from natural and man-made disasters means that more government and private funds are allocated to emergency services, and more professionals are trained and hired to perform emergency-related services; direct-mail companies have noticed this trend