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By Norm Rooker   The feds asked, and we answered: Here’s what EMS needs now

                 How many of you have smiled at that old cliché “I’m from the government, and I’m
                 here to help”?
                   Well, that’s actually what happened    occurred both on-scene and online,      goal is to, within 12–15 months,
                 for 3½ days in February in Bellevue,     with many online attendees              field technologies that meet 80% of
                 WA, as representatives from EMS,         submitting questions for presenters     project operational requirements
                 fire, law enforcement, emergency          and panelists and voting on top         for less than $1 million. This will be
                 management and industry, along           research and development needs.         achieved through rapid prototyping
                 with venture capitalists and               The S&T Directorate has six           or identifying existing technologies.
                 representatives of the Department of     technical divisions: Explosives;          In an effort to better serve its
                 Homeland Security’s Directorate of       Chemical and Biological; Command,       various constituents, including
                 Science and Technology, convened to      Control and Interoperability; Borders   emergency responders, DHS operates
                 further assist emergency responders      and Maritime Security; Human            a dozen Integrated Product Teams,
                 in meeting their missions.               Factors Behavioral Sciences; and        or IPTs. These function in mission-
                   The 2009 Homeland Security S&T         Infrastructure and Geophysical.         critical areas to identify needs and
                 Stakeholders Conference–West was         It also operates a program called       promote projects and capabilities to
                 a forum to bring all these groups        TechSolutions. TechSolutions was        meet them. The IPTs engage DHS
                 together (plus vendors showcasing        established to develop information,     “customers,” acquisition partners,
                 their latest wares) to help not just     resources and technology solutions      S&T technical division heads and end
                 the U.S., but the international rescue   to address mission capability           users in developing, transitioning
                 and response communities serve           gaps identified by the emergency         and acquiring solutions.
                 more effectively. The conference         response community. The program’s         Toward the end of better serving

 42 JULY 2009 EMS www.emsresponder.com

                             emergency providers, the DHS                         was a new direction for them, and           What came forth was an interesting
                             created a 13th IPT for first responders.              they wanted us to tell them what we       cross-section of ideas. Some were
                             In conjunction with the National                     needed, rather than them dictating        strategic, like having a simple
                             Defense Industrial Association,                      what they’d give us. How, they asked,     interoperable        communications
                             the department began its effort by                   can we help you help the public you       system that really was simple,

                             assembling a group of 20 emergency
                             responders       representing
                             enforcement, fire suppression, EMS,
                                                                                    The conference was kicked off
                                                                                  by keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel
                                                                                                                            interoperable and affordable. Some
                                                                                                                            were tactical, such as creating a real,
                                                                                                                            working Star Trek-style tricorder for
                             emergency management, bomb/                          Honoré, U.S. Army, retired. Honoré        patient assessment and monitoring.
  asked,                     ordnance disposal and the Citizen                    led the joint task force response           Law enforcement representatives
  can we                     Corps. The International Association                 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.             wanted technology for field
                             of EMS Chiefs (IAEMSC) sent Jim                      He was dynamic and quotable,              i
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