The International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (Forum) is a group of government representatives from several nations dedicated to improving the affordability and availability of first responder technologies.
First responders, no matter what country’s uniform they wear, are united by a common purpose: to ensure the safety and security of the people they serve. Brave men and women of all nationalities are often asked to respond to complex and dangerous incidents such as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. With the aid of technologically advanced tools, the world’s first responders would be better equipped to respond to all types of emergencies.
In 2015, the Forum officially launched at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Forum’s mission is to help first responders from the global community carry out their work more effectively, safely and efficiently by providing market data that will incentivize the international industrial base to develop affordable and innovative first responder technology.
The Forum’s website contains descriptions of the many challenges first responders face in each of the member partners’ home countries. The positive reception of the Forum in 2015 by first responders and industry, highlights the potential for continued growth and membership. The Forum is comprised of members from Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group (FRG) hosted a #STTechTalk Twitter Chat on February 23. This provided FRG with the opportunity to share market overview summaries regarding first responder agency expenditures, which amounts to a total of $426 billion for 14 countries. The graph below depicts the breakdown for the law enforcement community.
The Forum determined certain gaps in first responder capabilities to be the highest priority in 2016. Forum members have completed or are in the process of collecting and analyzing capability gaps for each of their own responder communities.
The Forum anticipates initiating the fusion of these gaps from all efforts and developing a consolidated Forum list by mid-2016.
Some examples include:
- The ability to rapidly identify hazardous agents and contaminants;
- The ability to know the location of responders and their proximity to risks and hazards in real time;
- The ability to detect, monitor and analyze passive and active threats and hazards at incident scenes in real time; and
- The ability to incorporate information from multiple and nontraditional sources (for example, crowd sourcing and social media) into incident command operations.
The Forum looks forward to participating in more events throughout 2016. Recently, it participated in the U.K. Home Office’s Security & Policing Event held in the United Kingdom in early March. Members of the Forum were also represented at the International Wireless Communications Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada, from March 21-25.
To learn more about the Forum, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.