Roundup of spring, summer 2016 First Responders Group technology

The scenario illustrated that connectivity issues should not force an ambulance three miles away from a hospital to head to a hospital that is thirty miles away.

S&T notes that the experiment displayed a great level of coordination and cooperation from both countries. On the final day, digital volunteers played a key role on either side of the border, allowing first responder agencies to analyze data from the tornado disaster area and allocate precious resources more efficiently. The experiment was also followed by an S&T #STTechTalk Twitter chat on 24 May, which provided an open forum for CAUSE IV participants and the public to ask questions and share lessons learned.

eLoran Demonstration at New York Stock Exchange
On 19 April, FRG and partners demonstrated eLoran, a precision timing technology for financial transactions, at the New York Stock Exchange. eLoran is a low-frequency, high-power radio navigation signal broadcast by ground-based transmission stations. This allows the signal to penetrate buildings and provide precision timing indoors and throughout urban environments

Datacasting System Debuts as an Essential Tool During Houston Floods
During the week of 18 April, the City of Houston used FRG’s datacasting system to securely share information when the city experienced severe flooding. Datacasting provides public safety users with the capability to transmit secure video and data over existing broadcast television signals to a targeted audience. The Houston Fire Department used the tool to survey flooded areas during the storms affecting the city. This capability helps first responders effortlessly communicate, providing situational awareness and access to information they need to make informed decisions when responding to an incident. 

New Virtual Social Media Working Group Report
In April, the Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) published its newest report, From Concept to Reality: Operationalizing Social Media for Preparedness, Response and Recovery, which contains best practices and guidance on how to operationalize social media for the public safety and emergency response communities. Government agencies commonly use social media to push information to the public; however, they often hesitate to use information from the public for operational decision-making. The report discusses the importance of operationalizing and institutionalizing social media for long-term use in decision-making and information sharing. In order for agencies to integrate social media into all aspects of preparedness, response and recovery, the report recommends considering people and processes, governance, and technology.

SAVER Reports Released
The System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program published more than twenty new reports from February to April, providing powerful new resources to inform purchasing decisions. “The list of real-world challenges first responders face is broad and deep, ranging from budgetary and policy issues, to capability and technology limitations, to current environmental, political and social events,” S&T says. The most recent SAVER reports provided useful resources for law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services, public safety diving, structural firefighting, security services, and the first responder community as a whole.