The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and several Harris County public safety agencies are teaming up for the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) – Harris County Operational Experimentation (OpEx) set for December 2018.
OpEx will have a Hazmat leak and resulting mass-casualty scenario at the Port of Houston Turning Basin Terminal. The OpEx will use alerts, notifications, activations, response, triage and decontamination. The Port of Houston is North America’s largest petrochemical complex and the second largest in the world.
The agreement involves the Port of Houston Authority, the Houston Fire Department, the Houston Police Department, the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, the Atascocita Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard to plan and execute OpEx. The partnership will test and show what first responder communication, awareness, Internet use and on-body technologies can do.
“Technology can be a force-multiplier for first responders, and OpEX events are one of S & T’s best tools to demonstrate the real-world impact that integrated technologies may have on responder and DHS Component mission,” said William B. Bryan, a DHS S & T Senior official. “We chose partners in Texas because of strong existing relationships with the county and city, and their long-standing reputation as early-adopters for new public safety technologies.”
“OpEx will include communications hubs; public safety sensors that assess hazardous gases, responder physiological condition, and patient status; artificial intelligence with data analytics and smart alerting; multi-threat resistant duty uniforms; and responder and incident commander field situational awareness tools. DHS S&T is also coordinating with FirstNet to potentially run many of these cutting-edge networked devices on the newly-available FirstNet public safety broadband network,” the Houston Fire Department news release stated.