Legislation which will make it easier for first responders to acquire new equipment and technologies they need to respond to evolving threats was passed by the House Monday, reports Homeland Security Today.
First introduced as the First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act in 2016 by Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, his re-introduced legislation passed by the House, the First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act of 2017 (HR 687), requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a transparent process to review requests by first responders to use their Urban Area Security Initiative or State Homeland Security Grant Program funds to purchase equipment for which voluntary industry standards do not exist.
In response to House passage of his bill, Payne said, "As the threats that first responders have to tackle continue to evolve, it is critical that they have the equipment necessary to respond," Payne said. "Many first responders, however, [were] unable to acquire advanced equipment because they [were] not permitted, by law, to use their homeland security grant funds to purchase it. This legislation will equip first responders with the tools needed to do their jobs better and safer by requiring FEMA to establish a clear, transparent process to review requests to purchase innovative technologies with homeland security grant funds."