The first emergency responder community is currently experiencing the enhancement of existing and development of new electronic technologies for use with personal protective equipment (PPE) ensembles. After 11 September 2001, the rate of technological innovation has accelerated, with additional consideration given toward CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) type events. Protective ensembles used by first emergency responders include or will soon include electronics such as communications, GPS and tracking, environmental sensing, physiological sensing, and other components now becoming practical solutions at emergency incidents.
However, overall integration and coordination of these electronic-based technologies on a broad scale is lacking, and a standardized electronics integration platform/framework is needed. For the first emergency responder to remain effective, these electronic technologies must interact and operate synergistically, and provide an effective and efficient overall package for the first emergency responder. Integration of these components with the first emergency responder ensemble is required for managing weight, space, heat, and power requirements, as well as to create the least interference and burden to the wearer.
The goal of this project is to develop performance requirements for the compatibility and interoperability of electronic equipment used by emergency first responders.
The research program is made possible through funding from the National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and will be conducted under the auspices of the Research Foundation with the intent of having a final report 18 months from project initiation. The report will be made available electronically to the general public and presented to the relevant standards development committees of NFPA and ASTM.