Firefighters battle the Thomas Fire in Carpinteria, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2017. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

DHS S&T to Evaluate Select Wildfire Sensor Technologies

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) selected four new industry partners to participate in a new wildfire sensors workstream of the Smart Cities Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs. The SCITI Labs Initiative brings together an expansive network of innovative partners, keeping an active pulse on venture, accelerator, and other research advancements to identify potential solutions for homeland security research challenges.

Having recently concluded a two-year effort focusing on sensor-based technologies for public safety, the SCITI Labs team will now embark on a similar effort for the fire service. Over the next six months, these wildfire sensor technology partners will begin the process of prototype development or product modification, to be evaluated against DHS requirements to specific to combating wildfires that impact urban areas.

“Wildfires continue to threaten lives, homes and critical infrastructure. The goal of this effort is to identify where technology solutions can be brought in line with other commercially-available products for home and property security,” said Jeff Booth, Director of S&T’s Sensors and Platforms Technology Center. “We want to identify a development roadmap that works hand-in-hand with a commercialization path that advances not only the science and engineering aspects of this technology, but also the availability of these capabilities to the broader homeland security enterprise – from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to state and local emergency management to civilians.”

The four industry partners are:

SCITI Labs will work with end-users – including FEMA, and state and local fire services – and the industry partners to incorporate feedback and assessment data into market-ready products. The SCITI Labs “commercial first” approach guarantees a streamlined commercialization process is included in the technology evaluation, ensuring the technologies are useable, affordable and scalable to suit the mission needs of DHS components, first responders, industry, and other stakeholders.

Capabilities evaluated in this workstream will focus on real-time and continuous identification of heat sources and smoke to detect ignition location, track fire perimeter, track fire characteristics, and allow for geographically targeted notifications and warnings.

“We’re excited to embark upon this effort where our technical subject matter experts will work directly with commercialization experts and first responders to advance these capabilities,” said John Merrill, Director, First Responders and Detection Division. “We hope this will drive down costs of available solutions to responders and introduce innovation into the marketplace.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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