First Responders in the field have long been plagued by the inability to find their team member locations, access critical information on location, vital signs, and more. In response to these numerous challenges, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) created the Watchtower app to track locations and vitals of first responders and report that information to other users, employing the GPS and Bluetooth in smartphones.
According a statement from S&T, the Watchtower app is able to track heart rates and oxygen levels, providing life-saving information for first responders while in routine situations. The app monitors vitals through Bluetooth — connecting physiological-monitoring sensors to the dashboard, which is accessible to Watchtower users. The app can show if a user is at-risk by monitoring vital signs and alerting others so that they can be cleared to receive medical attention.
“Responders across the nation face numerous on-the-job challenges. At DHS S&T, we make it our mission to look for solutions to these challenges – such as the ones this free app addresses – to help make responders as safe as we possibly can,” said DHS S&T Program Manager Cuong Luu.
The Watchtower app is part of Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program, a 5-year initiative that works with first responders across the country to outfit them with the latest technology all to improve response timing and inform decision-making. NGFR works with more than 40 research teams to develop the best and most cutting-edge technology.