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It's your standard pilot project: NIST to offer documentary standards to first responders

Seeking to measure the U.S. first responder community's need for documentary standards at the federal, state and local levels, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Law Enforcement Standards Office (OLES) and its partners will distribute documentary standards to first responders as part of a pilot project running August 1, 2011, through October 2011. The pilot will help OLES gauge whom needs access to standards in the federal, state and local responder communities; what types of standards they use the most; and how OLES can better serve this community in the future.

Generally developed by private-sector standards organizations and trade groups, documentary standards can specify product characteristics; establish accepted test methods and procedures; characterize materials; define processes and systems; or specify knowledge, training and competencies for specific tasks. First responders use basic testing and product standards primarily to inform their equipment procurement, operations and training. Typical subjects include personal protective equipment, detection systems, body armor, urban search and rescue Robots, communications systems and biometric ID systems.

The pilot program is open to first responders with .gov and .mil e-mail addresses. OLES purchased documentary standards for download from ASTM International and IEEE and has included access to view the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The standards are available at

Included among the approximately 1,000 available standards are, for example, ANSI N42.33-2006, American National Standard for Portable Radiation Detection Instrumentation for Homeland Security; NFPA 1906: Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus, 2006 Edition; and ASTM E2592-07, Standard Practice for Evaluating Cache Packaged Weight and Volume of Robots for Urban Search and Rescue.

Federal government standards and guidance such as the Code of Federal Regulations and Department of Defense Military Specifications also are included.

OLES will share the data gathered through the pilot with the agencies as well as with the standards development organizations.

OLES is working with SAIC, SAI Global Inc., ASTM International, IEEE, and NFPA for this pilot project. If sufficient interest is shown during the initial pilot, NIST OLES will look into sponsoring a follow-up pilot to include responders who do not have a .gov or .mil address.


Contact: Mark Esser
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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