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SAVER Document Library

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) manages the SAVER Program to assist emergency responders in making procurement decisions. Since its inception in 2004, the SAVER Program has produced more than 1,000 knowledge products. These knowledge products—which include focus group, market survey and assessment reports, as well as technotes, application notes, handbooks, guides and other documents—are described in detail on the SAVER Document Descriptions page, and assist in providing emergency responders with information to inform their procurement decisions.

“Publicly releasable SAVER documents are available here in the SAVER Document Library. SAVER documents with limited distribution are available to members of the SAVER Community by contacting NUSTL@hq.dhs.gov

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) can be applied to address various operational challenges in the first responder community. AI refers to automated, machine-based technologies with at least some capacity for self-governance that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing real or virtual environments. ML is a subset of AI. ML systems receive inputs in the form of training data, and then generate rules that produce outputs. ML systems “learn” from examples, rather than human-created rules. 

Air-purifying (APRs) and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) are small and portable and offer protection to users like wildland firefighters from hazardous air particles, smoke and gases.

Battery-powered rescue tools for vehicle extrication, including spreading, cutting and spreading/cutting combination tools, are used by emergency responders to create greater access to persons trapped within vehicles by spreading or removing areas of damaged vehicle from around them.

Law enforcement agencies maintain extensive inventories of crime scene evidence, such as blood stains, hair, fibers, firearms, fingerprints, documents and specimens from sexual assault kits. The proper collection, labeling and tracking of evidence gives credence that the evidence presented in court is the same evidence that was collected at the crime scene. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology can help facilitate, standardize and automate inventory and asset tracking tasks for law enforcement’s management of evidence.

First responders use infrared thermal detection technologies for a variety of applications, including search and rescue, structural navigation, hostage negotiation, scenarios with barricaded individuals, and enhanced visibility in poor operational conditions. Such thermal imaging systems are also reasonably accurate for detecting fever among human subjects. Therefore, first responders may be able to employ these systems as part of a larger solution for conducting point-of-entry health screenings to protect the safety and health of a workforce and the general public.

Laser protective eyewear is used to protect wearers against eye damage from commercial or industrial lasers. The lenses are designed to block specific wavelengths of laser light. They can be used as safety glasses in workplaces where lasers are operated and by pilots and first responders as protection from laser pointer attacks.

Incident management software (IMS) consists of a suite of tools that collect and manage critical incident data in a collaborative environment to aid decision-making. IMS captures diverse, multilayered information to provide first responders and emergency managers with knowledge critical to managing no-notice incidents and planned events at any scale. Emergency management, fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and other first response agencies use IMS for incident planning, multiagency coordination, resource allocation, and asset tracking.

Particulate respirators worn over the nose and mouth protect the wearer from inhaling hazardous particulate matter such as dusts and airborne biohazards. The level of protection depends upon filtration effectiveness and the tightness of the seal around the edges of the mask when it is worn. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests and certifies particulate air purifying respirator products that exceed the minimum 95% level of filtration. Respirators required in the workplace are regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

First responders use body cameras to record interactions with other responders and the public while on duty. These cameras may be used by all responder disciplines to ensure transparency, deter aggressive behavior, preserve evidence, monitor personnel, document interactions, support the accuracy of written reports, provide a training tool, and aid in improving standard operating procedures.

Medical masks and barrier face coverings are worn over the nose and mouth to reduce the transmission of biohazards.

Messaging apps enable first responders to send information such as messages, alerts, images, and locations between field operators using mobile devices and officers stationed at static locations who are using desktop computers.

Fixed-position direct radiation environmental monitoring systems are capable of continuous, unattended outdoor operation and of providing real-time measurements of the external gamma radiation exposure rate ranging from natural background to emergency levels.

Maritime radiation detection equipment can be deployed on vessels to detect illicit radioactive material.

Wireless surveillance camera systems capture and transmit live video over the air for real-time viewing and/or recording. Law enforcement agencies often use these systems to provide security and surveillance video.

Language translation equipment is used to communicate emergency medical information between non-English speaking, hearing-impaired, or visually-impaired patients (or patient representatives) and emergency responders, including medical services, hospital workers and public health providers.

Field portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometers (GC/MS) are used by emergency responders during field operations to chemically analyze substances suspected to be narcotics, toxic industrial chemicals, or chemical warfare agents. Included report: Field Portable Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer Focus Group Report.

Radio frequency detection, spectrum analysis, and direction finding equipment detect, identify and analyze radio frequency signals from radios, cellular devices, GPS, Wi-Fi, and other emitting devices. These devices can be used to identify transmissions from suspicious or threatening sources, including interference that may be blocking or damaging first responder communications.

Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS)—systems whose gross take-off weight is less than 55 pounds—offer tremendous potential for emergency responders supporting public safety missions, allowing responders to carry out missions at a fraction of the cost of a manned aerial response, while keeping them out of personal danger. These systems also offer opportunities to perform missions impossible for manned vehicles, such as exploring the inside of buildings or tunnels.

Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency response personnel use tactical eyewear to protect their eyes when working in the field. Common hazards that responders use tactical spectacles and goggles to protect against include shrapnel, blunt objects, chemicals, and blood and other biohazards. Included reports: focus group report, assessment report

Personal radiation detectors (PRDs) are small electronic devices worn by emergency responders. These devices alert the wearer to slight changes in the background radiation level for the purpose of detecting and interdicting the illicit movement of radioactive material. Some PRDs, known as spectroscopic personal radiation detectors (SPRDs), also measure the energy spectrum of radiation to identify the radionuclide present. Included report: market survey report.

Facial recognition technology is a contemporary security solution that automatically identifies and verifies the identity of an individual from a digital image or video frame. Included reports: Three-Dimensional Facial Recognition Highlight; Three-Dimensional Facial Recognition TechNote.

Explosives trace detectors are used by public safety organizations to screen packages, vehicles, luggage and other items for minute residues of explosives left on them by people who have recently handled explosives. Instrument users wipe the surface of the item to be screened with a swab and insert the swab into the instrument. Analysis results are produced in less than a minute and often in less than ten seconds. Desktop-sized ETDs are used at fixed checkpoints where their relatively large size, weight, and need to operate on alternating current power can be accommodated. Alternatively, handheld ETDs used for screening activities that are mobile in nature require an easily-carried instrument that can operate on battery power. Included report: Handheld Explosive Trace Detectors TechNote.

Ballistic-resistant body armor is worn by law enforcement officers while in the field to protect against specific ballistic threats; it has also traditionally been designed to conform to the male build. As women's presence in law enforcement continues to grow, body armor is being designed for the female form to ensure women are as protected and comfortable as men when wearing body armor. Included reports: market survey report and technote.

Chemicals absorb light in different narrow spectral bands in a unique manner, creating a spectrum that can be used to indicate the presence of a chemical, identify the chemical, and quantify the concentration. Infrared systems for remote chemical detection use these spectral signatures to remotely detect, identify, and characterize chemicals in the gas or vapor phase. This technology is relatively new, only recently becoming mature enough for emergency responder use. Included reports: market survey report and assessment report.

Radiation pagers and survey meters are small alarming personal radiation detectors worn by personnel that provide visual, auditory, or tactile warnings in the presence of radiation. These devices are the first line of defense when responding to a WMD event. Included reports: highlight, technote, and test and evaluation results.

Last Updated: 09/23/2022
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