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Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

DHS holds active shooter exercise to test smart building sensor capabilities

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During a live active shooter exercise at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) evaluated a suite of in-building sensors.

The exercise demonstrated how smart building technologies could inform daily operations and improve public safety and response effectiveness in emergency situations.

The sensors that DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate were evaluating were developed through the Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs effort. Hundreds of first responders, researchers, and volunteers participated in this large-scale effort along with technology innovators and Virginia political and business leaders.

“This event demonstrates what homeland security research and development is all about: bringing operational users together with academia and public and private sector partners to invest in technologies that keep our citizens safe,” William Bryan, senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary for Science and Technology at the DHS, said.

“Virginia is proud and honored to host and participate in the SCITI Labs program. Given the number of emerging threats and challenges our public safety officials face on a daily basis, we must seek out new technology to help better protect our communities,” Brian Moran, Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, said. “This program highlights the collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Center for Innovative Technology, and our first responders. The rapid development, implementation, and testing of new technologies, such as the building sensors and connected technology seen demonstrated at George Mason University, will greatly assist our efforts to better protect our public.”

The challenge now is, said Bryan, is to move these capabilities into the mainstream of critical infrastructure to give facilities the tools necessary to respond to emergency incidents.

The SCITI Labs team – working with industry partners — will continue to develop and evaluate these capabilities to ready them for adoption.