Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program

Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program

The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program seeks to help tomorrow's first responder be more protected, connected and fully aware. When firefighters, law enforcement officers and paramedics have enhanced protection, communication and situational awareness, they are better able to save lives and make it home safely.

Apex: Next Generation First Responders program banner

NGFR is a five-year program that began in January 2015 but is part of a longer-term Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) commitment to envision and assist the responder of the future. From developing program requirements to testing prototypes, NGFR continually engages first responders for input and feedback. NGFR’s cutting-edge technologies will improve emergency response time and accelerate decision-making, which means more lives can be saved.

Next Generation First Responder: Protected, Connected and Fully AwareThe Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program is comprised of more than 40 research and development projects geared towards making responders better protected, connected and fully aware. NGFR will incrementally deliver these capabilities over the program lifecycle, and will partner with first responders to test and evaluate technologies before they are available on the market.

NGFR will integrate these projects, as well as existing commercial technologies, through open-source technical and data standards. By creating a “plug-and-play” environment, NGFR encourages innovators to develop interoperable technologies that address first responder needs. Each first responder organization can purchase the equipment they need knowing that each piece will be compatible with the rest. This will make it easier to incorporate new investments and provide alternatives to costly proprietary systems.

APEX PROGRAMS NEXT GENERATION FIRST RESPONDER: The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program develops tools first responders need to save lives and protect property while staying safe. NGFR is adapting existing technology, developing new capabilities and working with private sector innovators to ensure responders are better protected, connected and fully aware. NGFR's cutting-edge technologies will improve emergency response time and accelerate decision-making, which means more lives can be saved. THE NEXT GENERATION FIRST RESPONDER WILL: Be equipped with state-of-the-art, high quality protective gear that defends against all hazards. Have hands-free communications equipment ready and available to allow for better multitasking during a response. Have access to key information for situational awareness and integrated decision-making. Apex NGFR will offer: Interoperable Communications, Better Situational Awareness, Integrated Wearables, Faster Response, Reliable Equipment, Universal Data Standards. Learn more: http://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/ngfr. As the NGFR video describes, S&T is leveraging existing capabilities and designing new technologies to solve first responder needs such as:

  • Protective gear that protects against all hazards;
  • Hands-free communications equipment to allow for better multitasking during a response;
  • Communications equipment that is more reliable in all environments, including tunnels or areas far from communications towers; and
  • Integrated communications that work smoothly between jurisdictions.

To learn more about first responder capability gaps, read Project Responder 4: 2014 National Technology Plan for Emergency Response to Catastrophic Incidents. Project Responder 4 is the result of focus groups that included more than 250 federal, state and local first responders; responder associations; industry; academia; and the National Laboratories’ technical subject matter experts.

Visit the First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise page to learn more.

For NGFR inquiries contact us at First.Responder@hq.dhs.gov.

Related Fact Sheets and Videos

NGFR Fact Sheets

NGFR Videos

For additional FRG fact sheets and videos, visit the First Responders Fact Sheets page and First Responder Videos page. For a complete list of S&T videos, visit the S&T Videos page.

Related Publications

For additional FRG publications, visit the First Responders Publications page.

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