FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
S&T Public Affairs, 202-254-2385
WASHINGTON – Public safety agencies can now benefit from the Team Awareness Kit (TAK) to help save more lives. Originally developed by the Department of Defense (DoD), and subsequently funded and piloted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the iOS iTAK app, now available on the Apple App Store, is a geospatial mapping tool that first responders can use to see each other’s locations, and communicate and coordinate better. The Android version of the TAK application, ATAK, has supported hurricane relief, firefighting, national security events and daily public safety operations.
“The need for iTAK deployment in the first responder community is critical since approximately 80% of devices carried by wildland firefighters are iOS-based,” said Shawn McDonald, S&T program manager. “Extending tactical situational awareness of the TAK family of systems to Apple devices is a significant achievement, enabling first responders to use crucial information delivered at the right time to make rapid decisions in complex environments.”
To address this need, S&T worked with the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, which provided requirements and operational feedback during testing. S&T is now working with DHS components to add iTAK into their list of available tools for deployment when tactical situational awareness is needed. S&T’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) portfolio manager Denis Gusty led an interagency collaboration to provide initial TAK training for firefighters in California during the 2020 fire season.
“S&T is committed to providing firefighters the tools they need to communicate, especially as they battle the growing threat of the wildland fire season,” said Denis Gusty. “Putting TAK in the hands of wildland firefighters allows them to communicate via voice and data whenever available. The integration of iTAK will help us deploy the TAK tool more widely.”
TAK has potential not only for wildland fire management, but also for other first responders, including law enforcement and search and rescue operations. S&T funded the development of iTAK under a Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA) contract with Syzygy Integration LLC, a small business headquartered in Conshohocken, PA.
iTAK is now available as a free download on the App Store.