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Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service responders play a critical role in protecting people and property in the event of fires, natural and man-made disasters, medical emergencies, terrorist and other criminal acts, and numerous other types of emergencies. The authors examine the hazards that emergency responders face and the personal protective technology needed to contend with those hazards. The findings are based on in-depth discussions with 190 members of the emergency responder community nationwide, including structural firefighters, emergency medical service responders, police officers, emergency management officials, technology and services suppliers, researchers, and program managers from 83 organizations. The discussions focused on the primary tasks that emergency responders undertake; situations in which the risk of injury is greatest and, therefore, have the highest priority for improved personal protection; current and emerging technologies that are critical to protecting the health and safety of emergency responders; and the drivers of, impediments to, and gaps in personal protection technology development. The findings are intended to help define the protective technology needs of emergency responders and develop a comprehensive personal protective technology research agenda for the nation.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Overview of the Emergency Responder Community

  • Chapter Three

    Protecting Firefighters

  • Chapter Four

    Protecting Emergency Medical Service Responders

  • Chapter Five

    Protecting Law Enforcement Responders

  • Chapter Six

    Protecting Hazmat and Anti-Terrorism Responders

  • Chapter Seven

    Systems-Level Protection Issues

  • Chapter Eight

    Procurement and Logistics

  • Chapter Nine

    Putting Community Views to Work

  • Appendix A

    Discussion Participants

  • Appendix B

    Discussion Protocol

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Materials

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND's Science and Technology Policy Institute.

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