US agencies seek ideas for mass rescue operations lifesaving device

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, in collaboration with the US Coast Guard, recently released the “Mass Rescue Operations Lifesaving Device Broad Agency Announcement” solicitation seeking innovative technology solutions to respond to mass-casualty events at sea.

Innovators, industry, academia, and laboratories are invited to submit solutions for a large capacity-floating device to keep survivors out of the water during mass rescue operations. White papers are due by 1400 hrs EDT on 5 August.

The US Coast Guard Research and Development Center will provide technical support to DHS S&T throughout the effort to help with the development of the device. RDC Commanding Officer, Capt. Dan Keane noted, “We’re looking forward to working with the public to help develop their innovative ideas into a practical and useable design. If successful, the mass life-saving device will give first responders additional capability and capacity to respond quickly to a mass rescue situation.”

“The Coast Guard is excited to work with industry to develop this cutting edge, mission-critical, lifesaving capability,” said Tom Gorgol of the Coast Guard office of search and rescue.

The service is looking for an effective solution to provide short-term lifesaving and rescue assistance in disasters that render existing systems such as onboard lifeboats inoperable or infeasible. The Coast Guard wants to develop a non-standard, one-time use, large capacity, an ultra-lightweight floating device that will be deployed from air or vessel during a mass rescue operation to mitigate the loss of life. For example, if a large ferryboat or cruise ship is unexpectedly stranded or sinking, the ship’s staff may not be able to deploy the lifeboats. Coast Guard aircraft or vessels could respond and deploy mass rescue devices at the scene to better maintain passengers until all can be rescued.

“The purpose of a large-capacity floating device is to solely keep survivors out of the water during a mass rescue operation,” said S&T Program Manager Angela Blair. “The commercial marketplace already has large, flotation devices, but these are too heavy to be deployed from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter or easily lifted over a vessel’s bulwark for deployment.”

More information can be found at https://sam.gov/opp/ab97f34715c844929d9527178582a774/view

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