First responders meet to discuss U.S. capability gaps

Members of the First Responder Resource Group were able to try out new technology during the group's annual meeting. | U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology

Attendees at the recent First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) 2014 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., focused on identifying high-profile capability gaps that could hinder emergency operations during a national crisis.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate's First Responders Group, the three-day gathering included discussions on gaps in communications, responder location monitoring, threat detection, rapid hazard identification and proper use of personal protective equipment.

New technologies, including a wireless vital signs monitor, a low-light camera/IP encoder and a virtual training system, were featured. Participants also were encouraged to provide input on future innovations.

Made up of 120 active and retired first responders, the FRRG volunteers provide subject matter expertise to the science and technology directorate. 

“Who better to ask than the first responders themselves on what their needs are in order for (the directorate) to identify the needs of the first responder community,” FRRG Coordinator Milt Nenneman said. “(The directorate) must understand the first responders’ concept of operations and the environment in which they work; there's no better way to learn that than to hear it from the first responders themselves.”

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