The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is seeking solutions to the communications challenge of encountering weak radio or cellular coverage while conducting life-saving operations. This week, S&T posted a request for information on portable radio repeater products for indoor and subterranean environments for the emergency responder community. S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) is specifically seeking information on human-portable and deployable repeaters contained within a protective enclosure. The technologies will be included in a market survey conducted by NUSTL. Interested industry partners have until 4:00 p.m. EDT on October 16, 2020, to submit their products for inclusion.
“Communications are crucial to emergency response operations. This can be a challenge indoors and underground as radio and cell coverage is often limited in these environments and additional network infrastructure may not be present,” said Hasan Shahid, test engineer for NUSTL, who is leading the project. “First responders can deploy portable radio repeaters in these environments to enable or enhance communications in several types of incidents, such as active shooter responses, urban search and rescue operations, and tunnel maintenance.”
For a radio repeater to qualify as human-portable—a criteria for inclusion in the market survey report—the combined weight of the repeater and enclosure must be under 50 pounds (approx. 22.6 kg) or, if the combined weight is over 50 pounds, the enclosure must be equipped with wheels. The repeater must also be configurable such that it can be deployed for different indoor and underground emergency response operations, rather than fixed installations only.
The market survey report—produced by NUSTL’s System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) program—will be posted to the SAVER Document Library on the S&T website, where the findings can be accessed by state, local, and federal response agencies making procurement decisions about this type of technology.
For more information on the RFI prior to the October 16, 2020, submission deadline, visit the solicitation page.
For more information on the SAVER program, visit the SAVER website at https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/saver.