First Responders Want More Trustworthy, User-Friendly Communication Devices, NIST Survey Finds

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A U.S. survey showed that first responders such as policemen, firemen and emergency medical personnel want public safety communications technology to be trustworthy, controllable and easier to use. 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Monday published its report on the Voices of First Responders project, which aims to help tech developers improve communication devices used in emergency response.

The study involved 7,182 participants from rural areas to large cities nationwide. NIST spent three years analyzing data and wrote 14 publications on the findings. 

 Based on the results, the institute came up with guidelines for future development of public safety technologies. The devices must be tailored not only to first responders’ user behavior but also to the varying needs, disciplines, districts and contexts of use in response situations. 

They must be cost-effective for widespread distribution, and not divert attention from the primary tasks of the officers, according to the survey. NIST also found that officials prefer to see an enhancement to the devices they currently have, rather than getting new equipment.

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