SAVER: A Consumer Reports for first responders

SAVER: A Consumer Reports for first responders

First responders have a tool to make more informed procurement decisions – the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) program.

Designed by the Department of Homeland Security, SAVER contains more than 900 commercial equipment assessments in seven major equipment test and evaluation areas -- from search and rescue to information technology to surveillance and explosive countermeasures. It evaluates equipment on five criteria: affordability, capability, deployability, maintainability and usability.   

SAVER is designed to help responders better select, purchase, use and maintain emergency response equipment by focusing on two main issues: the equipment available and its performance.

Impartial assessments and validation are done by technical agents from the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory; the Nevada National Security Site; the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Atlantic; and the Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center.

The assessments include product lists, reports, plans, rating charts, handbooks and guides -- all to help describe the equipment, their capabilities, features and potential applications. Additionally focus group reports and market surveys are also available.

For example, an assessment summary on ruggedized tablets includes a test results, rankings of tablets assessed -- as well as a list of advantages and disadvantages of each model -- and tablet specifications. A survey report on video management software includes an overview of the software, information provided by vendors on their software’s capabilities and costs as well as vendor contact information.

Procurement information from SAVER is available to federal, state and local responders.

Assessment results and other information are available at FirstResponder.gov and First Responder Communities of Practice sites.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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