The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking a means of tracking first responders and their environment in an integrated and interoperable manner. Technology solutions include hardware sensors that evaluate first responder biometrics and environmental conditions as well as software user interfaces that integrate data from multiple sensors to provide an integrated output. Sensors focused on the environment should be capable of evaluating a structured environment or an unstructured environment depending on the nature of the emergency, including fire, panic, water damage, etc.  The optimal solution should be capable of functioning in an integrated and interoperable system to provide first responders with a single, unified output.


There are many technologies offering accurate, real-time evaluation of on-body biometrics as well as environmental sensing, but not all sensors are optimized for use by first responders. When first responders enter a building during an emergency situation, they may encounter chaos, smoke, fire, water, loud noises or building damage that may interfere with sensors’ data collection or transmission capabilities.  Additionally, hardware solutions are often paired with a proprietary dashboard incapable of interacting with inputs from additional sensors. A system that enables real-time tracking of first responders and their environment in a single, unified output would be a valuable tool for increasing the safety of first responders and the speed of response.


  • Solutions may address operation in structured or unstructured environments. Capability in both environments would be ideal.
  • Solutions may be enabled through technology worn on a first responder or remotely. While being worn on the body, solutions should be able to withstand harsh operating conditions.
  • The ideal solution should be capable of interfacing with additional hardware and software outputs in an integrated and interoperable manner.
  • Solutions that allow first responders to be tracked remotely are also of interest.
  • Solutions which are compatible with open IoT protocols / standards are of interest (e.g. MQTT, AllJoyn, OCF, etc.)

Possible Solution Areas:

Solutions may include hardware or software.  Algorithms that can integrate data from a variety of sensors into a single, meaningful output are also of interest.

On-body sensors including:

  • Environmental sensors
  • Biometric sensors
  • Tactical sensors (e.g. gunshot detection, explosion, etc.)
  • Non-beacon based Location Based Services sensors (specifically for personal location)
  • Anything else that might give a first responder insight into their (or their team’s) direct environment

Desired outcome of the solution:

This organization would like to find solutions that allow for tracking of first responders and their environment.  Highly interesting solutions may be tested against reference scenarios or evaluated for further development.

Field of use and intended applications:

Tracking of first responders and their environment during emergency response scenarios.

Previously attempted solutions:

Individual sensors each paired with their own individual proprietary dashboard.