The Department of Homeland Security recently released a First Responder Group Broad Agency Announcement. According to the announcement, the over-arching strategy of this 5-year open ended is to quickly and efficiently execute research and development to deliver practical solutions to urgent first responder problems. This strategy will provide DHS an acquisition tool with the flexibility to solicit proposals and make awards to perform rapid prototyping of technical solutions to meet present and compelling first responder needs, as ever-changing urgent operational issues and capability gaps are identified. This announcement is restricted to work relating to basic and applied research and that portion of advanced technology development not related to a specific system or hardware procurement.
The announcement is broken down into 8 topic areas:
• SOO-A - Recorded Call Search and Retrieval Tool
• SOO-B - Transmit and Receive Multi Media Data Between the Incident and Responders
• SOO-C - Firefighter Accountability and Proximity System
• SOO-D - Research on Personal Area Network Interface and Compatibility Issues for Public Safety Personnel Protective Equipment
• SOO-E - Remote Responder Monitoring
• SOO-F - Remote Identification for Tracking and Triage
• SOO-G - Base Ensemble for First Responders
• SOO-H - Thermal Imaging Camera Integrated with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
Under the Recorded Call Search and Retrieval Tool topic area, DHS is interested in basic and applied research in readily accessible, high-fidelity simulation tools to support training and exercises in incident management and response. Topic Area 2, Transmit and Receive Multi Media Data Between the Incident and Responders, focuses on basic and applied research geared to provide the ability to know the location of responders and their proximity to risks and hazards in real time. The third Topic Area, Firefighter Accountability and Proximity System, is focused on basic and applied research that can help provide the ability to know the location of responders and their proximity to risks and hazards in real time. The Research on Personal Area Network Interface and Compatibility Issues for Public Safety Personnel Protective Equipment Topic Area focuses on communications, specifically the ability to communicate with responders in any environmental conditions (including through barriers, inside buildings, and underground).
The 5th and 6th topic areas, respectively titled Remote Responder Monitoring and Remote Identification for Tracking and Triage are similar in that both seek basic and applied research that could provide the ability to remotely monitor the tactical actions and progress of all responders involved in the incident in real time. The 7th and 8th topic areas, while different in title, also seek the same kind of research. Base Ensemble for First Responders (Topic Area 7), is broad while Thermal Imaging Camera Integrated with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (Topic Area 8) is much more specific. Both areas seek basic and applied research to provide protective clothing and equipment for all first responders that protects against multiple hazards.
The BAA will remain "open" for 5 years; but DHS will only solicit and accept proposals during calls. Each call will identify solicitation topics and contain a common cut-off date for proposal submission. Each call will: (1) identify specific topic areas; (2) identify any changes to the standard evaluation criteria or proposal preparation instructions, and; (3) contain common cutoff dates for proposal submissions. DHS encourages small businesses to propose on all solicitations. For more information, refer to the solicitation on the FedBizOps website.