First responders’ technology prize to be awarded by DHS


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U.S DHS launches $25K prize for innovative ways to track first responders indoors during incidents.

The Homeland Security Department’s research and development arm announced it will award $25,000 in prizes to participants who can come up with innovative technologies to track first responders indoors.

According to Fierce Home land Security, it’s the Science & Technology Directorate’s first crowdsourced competition. It is seeking real-time, accurate tracking solutions that can locate first responders during emergencies. The deadline for submissions is April 2.

“Indoor tracking is a critical need for first responders,” DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology (S&T) Dr. Robert Griffin said in a release. Griffin, a former firefighter and emergency manager, added “When a firefighter runs into a burning building or when law enforcement raids a warehouse, incident commanders need to maintain situational awareness of the locations of team members.”

The problem becomes even more acute with poor or non-existent radio communications, S&T said. Any proposed solution should be personalized, modular and scalable and also use current and emerging technologies, sensors and techniques. Any concept should also be low-cost and robust, S&T added. First place will be awarded $20,000, while second place will earn $5,000.

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“Advances in manufacturing, nanotechnology, sensors, smart chips, intelligent fabrics and the ‘Internet of Things’ are enabling individuals to have advanced capabilities in nearly every endeavor,” added Griffin.

“This is the reason behind the competition – there are great new ideas and advances out there that can provide new capabilities, and we need to access them.”

AWARD: Award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group in accordance with the submission and judging criteria outlined in the Federal Register Notice for this competition. The total payout of $25,000 includes a first place prize of $20,000 and a second place prize of $5,000.

SUBMISSION PERIOD: Submissions to this prize competition must be received by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) on April 2, 2015. Late submissions will not be considered. To register or participate in this prize competition go to and select “Where Am I, Where Is My Team?”

ELIGIBILITY: Pursuant to the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, 15 U.S.C. 3719, awards for this prize competition may only be given to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S., or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the U.S., subject to verification by the sponsor before prizes are awarded.