U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Archived Content

In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

About First Responders

The Support to the Homeland Security Enterprise and S&T strengthens the response to communities' abilities to protect the homeland and respond to disasters.

S&T engages and partners with first responders and the emergency preparedness and response community at every stage, and at the local, state, tribal and federal level. Through this approach, S&T pursues a better understanding of the response community's needs and requirements, provides technical assistance and develops innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges faced during day-to-day and large-scale emergencies.


In close partnership with first responders at all levels, S&T identifies, validates and facilitates the fulfillment of needs through the use of existing and emerging technologies, knowledge products and standards. Prioritized areas of S&T focus and initiatives include:

  • Making First Responders Safer
  • Helping First Responders Share Data and Critical Information
  • Helping First Responders Communicate Through Interoperability
  • Engaging, Communicating and Partnering with First Responders

S&T First Responder-related Groups

National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL)
NUSTL tests, evaluates and analyzes homeland security capabilities while serving as a technical authority to first responder, state and local entities in protecting our cities. NUSTL leads and provides independent federal oversight for test programs, pilots, demonstrations and other forms of evaluations of homeland security capabilities both in the field and in the laboratory.

Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC)
OIC provides local, tribal, state and federal stakeholders with the tools, technologies, methodologies and guidance to enable improved communications interoperability at all levels of government. OIC manages a comprehensive research, development, testing, evaluation and standards program to enhance emergency interoperable communications and improve alerts and warnings.

First Responder Technologies (R-Tech)
R-Tech rapidly disseminates technology information on products and services to local, tribal, state and federal agencies and private sector entities in order to encourage technological innovation and facilitate the mission of DHS. R-Tech provides information, resources and technology solutions that address mission capability gaps identified by the emergency response community.

Our Work

Response and Recovery
By developing technologies and tools responders can use daily, S&T directly supports the response to and recovery from emergencies.

Critical Infrastructure
Critical infrastructure includes the vast network of highways, connecting bridges and tunnels, railways, utilities and buildings necessary to maintain normalcy in daily life. Transportation, commerce, clean water and electricity all rely on these vital systems.

Research and Technology Assessments
Tools and technologies used by first responders are rigorously vetted and tested by S&T’s scientists and subject matter experts. These assessments can increase first responders’ confidence in their gear and tools and help them determine what technology best suits their individual missions.

Interoperability and Compatibility
During an emergency -- whether it’s an active shooter situation, car crash or hurricane -- different types of professionals, including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, all converge on the scene and need to coordinate their efforts.

Information Sharing Technology
S&T funds projects that help state and local response agencies share timely information about emergencies with each other and with the public. Our efforts include software, hardware, equipment, webinars and more.

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content