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ANSI Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative Explores Equipment and Interoperability Standardization Needs for First Responders


February Workshop Brought Together Stakeholders from SDOs, Government Agencies, and Academia

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative (HDSSC) has released a roundtable report examining pressing standardization needs associated with the work of emergency preparedness and response practitioners, including public safety agencies, fire departments, and law enforcement bodies. The half-day event, InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB) First Responder Standards Needs, was held on February 6, 2014, at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and included representatives of governmental bodies, academia, standards developing organizations (SDOs), and other stakeholders.

Following opening remarks from Gordon Gillerman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Chris Dubay of ANSI member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), IAB deputy chair Joseph Booth discussed IAB's work to identify needed standards in the emergency preparedness and response sector and to encourage their timely and effective development.

Each year, the IAB reviews recommendations it receives regarding potential emergency preparedness and response standards needs, and uses that information as a starting point in developing its annual list of standardization priorities. A full list of previous priority standards needs is available online. In fiscal year 2013, the IAB identified the following eight standards priorities:

  • Add blast overpressure, chemical, and biological protection requirements to an existing standard for public safety bomb suits
  • Develop a standardized equipment training program format related to emergency preparedness and response that includes guidance for manufacturers and vendors developing training courses, instructions, and related materials
  • Devise a standard test method for assessing respirator fit test equipment performance
  • Develop a performance standard for protective helmets that includes performance requirements and test methods covering protection against bullets, blunt trauma, and other threats
  • Create a performance standard for protective shields covering ballistic threats posed by bullets and explosive device shrapnel
  • Develop a standard containing test methods and performance requirements for the evaluation of vented and total explosive containment vessels
  • Devise a performance standard for video cameras used for surveillance and tactical operation recording by law enforcement and military personnel
  • Develop a standard covering the testing of robot operator capabilities and providing guidance on additional related training

During the workshop, next steps for each of the listed priorities were discussed, with a variety of government agencies and private organizations - including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ANSI members ASTM International, UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), and NFPA - involved in planned reviews of existing standards and guidelines in these areas, among other work to advance the targeted priorities.

Following the discussions, the event concluded with a review of relevant action items and next steps associated with the IAB's 2013 standards needs priorities.

The full workshop report is available online. For more information about ANSI-HDSSC and its activities, visit the official ANSI-HDSSC website at


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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