Blog

Forum Fosters Global Collaboration

icons for EMS, fire and law enforcement
The International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (Forum) is a group of volunteer government representatives from several nations dedicated to improving the affordability and availability of first responder technologies. The Forum is gearing up for its launch at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Chicago this month—this iconic event offers an opportunity to reach a diverse audience of leaders from the first responder community and industry. It will be the first step towards greater international collaboration on making affordable, innovative first responder technology available.

The Forum was established to help first responders around the globe conduct their missions more effectively, safely and efficiently by working with the global market to develop affordable and innovative first responder technology. Founding members of the Forum include the United States and international government partners from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

First responders around the world respond to similar disasters and emergencies; a fire in Israel or Finland is relatively similar to a fire in the United States and the United Kingdom. While the emergencies first responders face are similar, purchasing is fragmented as there is no platform to discuss, rate and collectively approach industry with shared capability gaps. The Forum aims to give the world’s responders a global voice and change the way technology requirements are evaluated and submitted to industry. By so doing, the Forum will improve the way first responders do business, build a stronger relationship with industry, and save both valuable time and funds.

As the U.S. Department of Homeland (DHS) Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) International Forum Lead Phil Waters explained: “Until now, there has been a void in the global first responder community for establishing a single, centralized venue for the emergency responders to pinpoint and voice their needs or capability gaps.”

“This shortfall, along with the fragmented purchasing power, inherently stymies technological innovation,” he continued. “The Forum aims to consolidate these gaps, to inform industry of the highest priority needs on which they could focus their attention and focus their internal R&D funding.”

A central part of the Forum is the drive to enhance assistance and procurement needs with industry partners. Differing standards and regulations from country to country make it difficult to develop affordable technology that can be used around the globe. Through the Forum, first responder agencies can work together to adopt strategies that make acquisition of hardware better suited for market trends and demand. This could result in developing a better environment within the commercial sector to produce new and affordable technologies.

Waters elaborated further, “S&T and its international partners believe that as the Forum matures, it will offer a platform for collaboration on new technology initiatives, research and development, and a way to analyze and shape the global first responder technology market. By standing together, the international community’s first responders can collectively alleviate the technological shortfalls that are common across the globe.”

To learn more about the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation, please contact: info@internationalresponderforum.org.