DHS staff members attend annual Day on the Hill

Staff members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and congressional members recently attended a demonstration of several science and technology projects during the annual DHS Day on the Hill.

The event, which took place on January 16, included demonstrations of several projects from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's First Responders Group. The event is meant to showcase to congressional members and staff how DHS investments enhance U.S. resiliency and security while improving efficiencies throughout the homeland security enterprise.

John Price, the program manager for the FRG, showcased a tool that allows search and rescue responders to quickly detect living human victims buried after a manmade or natural disaster. Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, or FINDER, uses microwave radar to detect an individual's breathing and heartbeat through layers of building debris and rubble. The device, which was developed with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory, greatly increases the chance of rescue and survival for victims.

Brian Albert, the technical program manager for FRG's National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, demonstrated a network of gamma radiation sensors providing real-time, city-wide data for response and recovery in case of a nuclear or radiological event. The Radiological Emergency Management System allows responders and emergency managers to put public safety measures in place. The New York City Police Department is currently implementing REMS.

Robert Griffin, the director of FRG, demonstrated the First Responder Support Tools mobile app. FiRST helps first responders at the scene of a suspected hazardous materials or bomb incident by isolating the threat and evacuating the area.

Program managers from 20 DHS areas were on hand to speak with more than 150 representatives for House and Senate homeland security committees about the research and development efforts that protect and support communities throughout the nation.