Homeland Security Seeks to Improve First Responder Vehicle Tech

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A new contract could enhance communications between first responders.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology directorate Thursday announced a contract award that could ultimately improve first responder emergency vehicle alerting technology.

The $100,000 contract was awarded to Corner Alliance, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based small business, to improve emergency alerts from first responders to drivers during emergencies. The contract follows work among DHS S&T and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System program, or IPAWS, that aims to develop a Wildland Urban Interface integration model.

“That model enables the dissemination of Wireless Emergency Alerts from alerting authorities using IPAWS to integration partners, to achieve new capabilities such as displaying fire and emergency alert information on the "infotainment" screens in vehicles,” according to a press statement issued by DHS S&T.

“Effective communication of emergency fire information and evacuation routes to people in an endangered area is a necessity for first responders striving to manage emergency operations and guide safe public response actions,” said Norman Speicher, DHS S&T program manager, in a statement.

“Connecting emergency management tools to situations in WUIs will help emergency management officials achieve better routes and procedures by utilizing cutting-edge technologies that help define, share and manage the status, and communicate evacuation routes and safety zones in real-time,” Spiecher added.

DHS S&T awarded the contract through its Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement program. In August, DHS S&T will host a proof-of-concept demonstration with FEMA IPAWS, private industry and numerous automotive and navigation platforms “in a single-day event with defined scenarios demonstrating the viability, utility and lifesaving potential of these new integration opportunities for emergency management and roadway safety.”