The Department of Homeland Security’s National Urban Science and Technology LaboratoryÂ has collaborated with theÂ Department of Energyâs Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to evaluateÂ in-suitÂ equipment designed to help first responders communicate when they respond toÂ hazardous material incidents.
Fire service responders wore Level A personal protective equipment andÂ communication tools from CavCom, CeoTronics, Drager and TEA Headsets during four different scenarios as part of the field assessment held at a joint training facility in Seattle, DHS said Thursday.
Participants communicated within noise-filled environments and performed building entry drills to test the ISC units. NUSTL and PNNL then collected feedback from the responders to assess the devices against a set of criteria such asÂ deployability, capability, maintainability and usability.
âThrough these hands-on assessments, we have an opportunity to look at emerging technologies, get our hands on it, test it in a realistic environment, validate our assumptions or expectations of how it will perform, and then share our findings and ideas with other responders from around the country,â said Grady Poole, a firefighter at the Seattle Fire Department.
NUSTL operates under the DHS’ science and technology directorate and oversees the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders program, which is meant to help first respondersÂ obtain data they can use before procuring communications gear.