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Virtual First Responder Capitol Hill Showcase Live Chat Comments, Question & Answers

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Hill Day Event

The comments, questions and answers compiled below reflect the live chat conversations that took place during S&T’s  Virtual First Responder Capitol Hill Showcase on April 5, 2022. 

With a focus on saving lives, solving problems, and enhancing capabilities to support nationwide first responder operations, this information helps clarify the impacts S&T is achieving following a wide range of investments in research, science and technology development, and cross-sector partnerships.   

Q: Can we see a photo or illustration of the new firefighter’s glove? 

A: The fact sheet and a video on the new and improved firefighter’s glove can be found here: S&T Improved Structure Firefighting Glove Fact Sheet and Video. 

Q: How is S&T supporting police forces? 

A: S&T supports law enforcement through numerous R&D efforts: Providing Police Backup Through Science and Technology.

Q: First responders often encounter chemicals when responding to calls. How can we rapidly know what might be going on in that place, and what the hazards are? 

A: The Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) Chemical Agents Reactions Database, and other DHS resources, can identify what those chemicals may be used for—drugs, explosives, production of other hazardous materials—and can advise in real-time through the CSAC 24/7 Technical Assistance capability. Snapshot: Helping Law Enforcement Solve and Prevent Chemical-Related Violence.

For additional information related to this topic: 

Q: Can S&T do all the C-UAS performance testing in a laboratory environment or at a single test site?  

A: From an operational perspective, equipment performance depends on three major items: 1) the physical environment (is it an open desert or urban city), 2) topography or terrain (is the ground flat or is it hilly or mountainous), and 3) specific use-cases (does it involve protecting a fixed facility or a large swath of the border). It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, we are required to test our equipment at many types of labs and operational locations to ensure safe and effective use of C-UAS technologies. 

Q: For all the C-UAS technology that you’ve tested, is there a qualified products list that is available for first responders to review? 

A: Unfortunately, we do not make a list publicly available because we don’t want the adversary to know what systems we’re using or how we counter the threat. We constantly evaluate technologies to see what works and what doesn’t for specific use cases and environments. For products we’ve tested, performance data is available to all DHS components and our interagency partners that perform authorized C-UAS missions. 

Q: If a company has a product that could help DHS counter drone threats, how can they engage? 

A: Companies may engage by submitting to the Long-Range Broad Agency  Announcement (LRBAA), Topic SEC BORD 03-06: Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems: S&T LRBAA. Questions about S&T's C-UAS Program may be emailed to: sandtcuasprogram@hq.dhs.gov

For additional information related to this topic: 

Q: Knowing the opioid crisis is on the rise and communities are at great risk, what role do R&D partnerships with the DHS National Labs play in developing new capabilities and essential resources to keep first responders safe and secure? 

A: The S&T labs like the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) and National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL), as well as our Transportation Security Lab (TSL), provide us with critical subject matter expertise. The testing facilities also have access to end-user communities that enable us to both focus and maximize our resources on the most critical and impactful research and development efforts. S&T Office of National Laboratories.

Q: How can we stay ahead of emerging variants of fentanyl and other designer drugs? 

A: Staying ahead of emerging synthetic opioids, other designer drugs, and the evolving tactics used to traffic them into and throughout the United States remains a challenge for all counterdrug efforts. At S&T, we need to continue to be agile in publishing informative, scientifically backed facts about emerging substances and getting data through the pipeline quickly to continue to provide first responders with the best tools to protect them in the field. Advances in analytical approaches and computation will also enable detection of “unknown” substances and more rapid turnaround in response to emerging variants. 

Q: What does DHS see as the next steps to improving field detection capabilities? 

A: An important aspect of improving field-portable opioid detection equipment is maintaining close collaboration with industry and the laboratories that provide the resources to perform independent test and evaluation of field-portable detection systems so that capability advancements of existing systems can be validated. However, long-term R&D efforts to improve field detection capabilities include developing advanced detection systems and algorithms that use multiple, complementary detection techniques. By packaging complementary detection techniques into one integrated instrument, we can develop algorithms that take advantage of the additional data, such a system would help address the current challenges with field detection systems. This includes improving the detection and identification of drugs in low concentration powders in an operational environment. Additionally, advances in analytical approaches such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as signal processing, could enable more robust detection and presumptive identification of “unknown” substances.  

A: What is S&T doing to enhance field detection equipment?  

Q: S&T’s Opioid Program is collaborating with 15 vendors from industry to enhance the reference libraries of 22 field-portable detection systems, covering seven different detection techniques. Collectively, the 22 systems participating have over 10,000 units deployed to first responder agencies, all of which will be upgraded by the vendors to include the outputs of this work at no cost to the agencies that own these systems. 

For additional information related to this topic: 

Q: Who and How V&V’d (validated and verified) and accredited the digital twin models? 

A: While there are BIM model accreditation services for software packages used by commercial BIM providers, the Capital One Arena 3D Digital Twin was not reviewed by a third party. Instead, we deployed sensor pods throughout the venue and validated locational accuracy with the 3D digital twin. 

Q: Does the Capital One COVID air circulation system balance health and safety concerns with comfort?  The illustrated lines of circulation look like “tornado like” wind.  How windy are the healthy winds? 

A: The Capital One Arena follows several air refresh protocols, pending event type as prescribed by the performers. We have modeled the air refresh cycles for baseline, event preparation, event, post-event, and renewed cycles. The animations shown during the briefing are simply graphical depictions and fly-throughs to demonstrate the dynamic nature of air refresh modeling performed in the arena. Current research allows the model to position a view anywhere in the arena and ‘watch’ the air flow by from that position along with particulate measures. 

Q: How would the fire sensors be deployed? 

A: Deployment of fire sensors are dependent upon multiple form factors and could potentially follow various commercialization paths. 

Q: How much do the in-building sensors cost? 

A: The sensor integration has been cost-neutral to the infrastructure owner/operator. In fact, it improved efficiency by 70% and reduced cost by nearly $1M dollars. 

For additional information related to this topic: 

Q: Have any tools developed from the REDOPS program been used operationally?  If so, please provide examples. 

A: Yes, numerous REDOPS tools have been validated by S&T and replicated by bomb squads across the nation. Just one example is the Shock Tube Dispenser, which is a simple tool used during explosive response situations. There is a manufacturer selling a shock tube dispenser for $500, but they sell directly to the Department of Defense. They will not sell to state and local law enforcement. Out of operational necessity, the New Jersey Police Department (NJPD) created a simple design that cost them $15 per dispenser. REDOPS found this important tool and worked with NJPD to refine the design, test for safety, and assess operational effectiveness. This design was published through the FBI Special Technician Bulletin. This tool (now a standard tool kit for tactical bomb technicians) is taught through the Hazardous Devices School as well as individual bomb squads. In fact, the Shelby County, Tennessee, Bomb Squad Commander recently reached out to say, “Just letting you know we have built the Shock Tube Dispenser from the instructions published in the Special Technicians Bulletin. We use these operationally quite often and issue them out to everyone on our team who is a certified explosive breacher. This bulletin has saved us time and money.”

Q: REDOPS seems like they produce many knowledge products.  How have these knowledge products helped the customer? 

A: The New York Police Department (NYPD) was making plans to purchase approximately $2M worth of Remote Fire Sets. After reading our fire sets assessment report, they discovered that the selection they made does not work in the urban canyon. NYPD was able to use our report to cancel the procurement and acquire new fire sets that work in their operational environment. This not only saved them money, but they were able to select the proper tool to help them operate safely and efficiently.

Q: How do bomb technicians obtain RAPID tools or knowledge products?

A: RAPID tools and knowledge products can be securely obtained by bomb technicians through the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, Advanced Disablement Engineering Technology Transition Seminar, and RAPID-X transition events.

Q: How does RAPID’s research and development help bomb technicians?

A: RAPID R&D makes bomb technicians more effective, efficient, and safer.

For additional information related to this topic: 

S&T’s Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) recently showcased 10 technologies to address first responder needs.

S&T has several ways we can work with smart cities innovators and startups: Work with S&T and the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

S&T has multiple mechanisms for accelerating federally funded tech from lab to market: Technology Transfer Program (T2C)

If you have smart ideas or technology solutions to share with S&T, you can email us at: SandT.Innovation@hq.dhs.gov.

NUSTL has a five-year roadmap for supporting the national first responder community as a trusted partner and premier scientific and technical resource: NUSTL’s FY2021-2026 Strategic Plan

In 2021, the Coast Guard National Strike Force Coordination Center, the parent unit to the five strike teams, asked the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) to evaluate the unit’s existing chemical-detection technologies. 

Last Updated: 08/19/2022
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