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New Proposals Sought for First Responder BAA

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new call for proposals via the First Responders Group Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the following topics:

Self-Detecting and Decontaminating Personal Protective Equipment

Only specialized personnel with customized equipment have hazardous or infectious substance identification capability. None of these capabilities are built into the daily wear uniform. By meeting this requirement, the technology would help decrease healthcare expenses, reduce loss of work time, and improve First Responder health and safety.

As a component of the daily work uniform, the proposed technology would both alert the First Responders to contaminant danger as well as provide a minimum level of protection from the danger during the course of normal operations.

Integration of Field-Based Hazard Detection Output

There is a need to provide First Responders with the ability to input data into a device which will aggregate, interpret, and report information on the presence of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) hazardous substance, what threat it poses, and outline the next steps for analysis and remediation. Such an instrument would improve the performance of the response team by providing pivotal training and real-world response models, and ensures First Responders are operating with a complete body of institutional knowledge.

The purpose of this technology is to provide a software tool that integrates data from multiple instruments and sources, applies data analytic techniques for better determining the hazard class or CBRN agent, and provide the user with a decision matrix (e.g., other tests that may be required, or suggest if further screening is needed).

Simultaneous Radio Transmissions for Greater Situational Awareness

First Responders need the ability to exchange information rapidly in high intensity situations; one unfortunate result of which is they often transmit radio calls that coincide with each other. This can keep valuable and potentially life-saving information from being transmitted, leading to a lack of situational awareness at critical times. An advanced technology to receive all radio transmissions will ensure that vital information is never missed, and if necessary can be retransmitted or communicated to those who need it.

Limited English Proficiency Text to 911

In December of 2012, the major United States wireless carriers reached an agreement with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) to ensure that text-to-911 capabilities would be in place by May 2014. Today only a small percentage of the more than 6,000 U.S. Public Safety Access Point’s (PSAP) are approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer and respond to text messages.

All PSAPs receiving federal funding are legally required to ensure 9-1-1 services are available in an understandable manner to the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) population (i.e., in a language other than English). Approximately 80% of the U.S. population’s LEP users are Spanish speaking, which is noteworthy as there are currently no language service providers offering a text to 9-1-1 translation capability in any language.

The Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate is looking for a solution that integrate with all nationally-relevant translation applications (e.g., Google translator) used by PSAPs to obtain text to 9-1-1 information. Any solution developed would have to be compatible with existing platforms. The cell phone owner should be able to select the default language they require, and the translation application should automatically use that language during communications.

The solution should also provide ‘real-time’ text messaging to 9-1-1 emergency services using native wireless operator capabilities. Translation intervals and proficiency rates must be compliant with FCC and industry-defined acceptable translation standards.

DHS anticipates that one award will be made for each topic area. However, multiple awards or no award may be made for each area depending on the quality of the proposals, individual funding requests, and total availability of funds.

Further details are available via Solicitation Number: HSHQDC-13-R-B0012 Call 3. The response deadline is June 19, 2015.

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