Engineering homeland security: Texas A&M Engineering receives $2 million grant
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M Engineering has been awarded $2 million by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to support an innovative, first-of-its kind testing and evaluation program developed through the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). "The first responsibility of government is to protect our homeland," said U.S. Representative Chet Edwards. "Texas A&M is a national leader when it comes to homeland security research and training and this important funding is crucial for the safety of our citizens. As an Aggie, it is a great privilege to work with Texas A&M on vital programs that help ensure the security of Americans." The grant supports the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) program. Developed by engineering faculty and researchers, SAVER is designed to assist communities by providing impartial, practitioner-relevant, operationally-oriented assessments and validations on the performance of critical equipment which would be used in a mass casualty event. "The federal government is providing millions of dollars to jurisdictions nation-wide to enhance homeland security preparedness, but there is no standard to determine which equipment is the best value for the investment," said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. "We have developed non-biased assessments to put this equipment through tests under realistic conditions; a sort of Consumer Reports evaluation for emergency response equipment. The results will help decision makers and responders better select, procure, use and maintain their equipment." SAVER will evaluate personal protective equipment; explosive device mitigation and remediation equipment; search and rescue equipment; and information technology, among other emergency response equipment. "Through the engineering program at Texas A&M, we are making significant contributions to our nation's homeland security," Bennett said. "The SAVER program adds a critically-important ingredient to our contributions: the valuable benefit of our researchers developing solutions to an unmet need. Truly, we are engineering homeland security."