The first responders of the future should be protected, aware faster, more efficient and connected, according to the vision provided by the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program.
“We have to be able to integrate the expanding technological capabilities within our first responders’ tool kits, their personal protective equipment and within their decision-making abilities,” DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Robert Griffin said. “We sought innovators with ideas for the latest scientific advancements, knowing that sometimes these technologies aren’t developed in a commercial laboratory or a major industrial company. The Emerge program is one way we’re charting that path.”
In 2015, industry leaders and academics were consulted on how first responders should be in 2016 and beyond. Town hall meetings were held in Maryland, Texas, Nevada and the District of Columbia, in order to gain feedback. Remote, virtual meetings were also held through the S&T Collaboration Community. Members of the program are seeking to better prepare these responders through feedback from experts.
“We wanted to harness diverse viewpoints to engage with a wider range of the homeland security community,” DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Reggie Brothers said. “By crowdsourcing the Responder of the Future dialogue, we connected with a more varied audience — and they connected with each other. That’s really where the true value of the National Conversation lies.”