Media contact: Ayanna Smith, (202) 724-5178
Today District of Columbia Interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Chris Willey announced that the District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to host the National Capital Region (NCR) Spring Ahead, the regional enactment of a nationwide first responders credential demonstration. The NCR Spring Ahead demonstration took place at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Spring Ahead is a federal and Mutual Aid electronic validation demonstration for Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201-compliant and FIPS 201-interoperable credentials. The demonstration is a multijurisdictional initiative, with more than 30 organizations in 20 locations around the country participating simultaneously.
First responders from over 10 NCR agencies and organizations are participating in the NCR Spring Ahead demonstration. Participating agencies include the District’s Metropolitan Police and Fire/EMS Departments, the City of Alexandria, Virginia Fire Department, the Prince George's County, Maryland Fire Department, the George Washington University, FEMA, the Pentagon, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies.
The demonstration is designed to authenticate first responder credentials by testing their performance in eight different simulated emergency scenarios. Among the scenarios are:
- Relocation of essential government personnel via air, water and land;
- Issuance of "just-in-time" credentials for emergency response officials who deploy to the scene without their credentials;
- Federal and mutual aid out-of-area ingress for disaster response;
- Deploying a web-enabled mapping application to inform emergency operation centers about on-scene response in real time; and
- Citizen evacuation, post-disaster re-entry, and sheltering-in-place.
The NCR demonstration also showcases some of the District's other recent public safety initiatives.
The credentials will be read by the standard Toughbook mobile laptop now deployed in over 1000 District police and fire vehicles. Card-reading with the standard mobile laptop demonstrates that it is not necessary to purchase a separate, special-purpose device to read the credentials.
The Toughbooks are connected by WiFi to a ruggedized Windows PC that is riding three separate networks—two commercial networks and the District's Regional Wireless Broadband Network, the first and only 700 MHz public safety broadband network in the nation. The District has deployed a mobile VPN gateway application to combine the three separate networks into one large, highly secure pipe—increasing resilience, coverage and throughput. The District's F/EMS Department is currently testing this exciting new application.
"Credentialing technology plays a key role in emergency response, so our credentialing technology must be ready for deployment in all hazards," said Interim CTO Willey. "Through live disaster simulations like Spring Ahead, we can ensure that our first responders have the technology they will need to face real-life emergencies."