Forest Service seeks emergency-satellite suppliers

The Forest Service has issued a request for information because it anticipates having to install thousands of satellite emergency notification devices.

Contractors have until Feb. 24 to respond to a request for information from the Agriculture Department's Forest Service regarding supplying satellite emergency notification devices, known as SEND.

According to FedBizOpps, the Forest Service is anticipating a need for a contractor to deliver about 6,000 devices.  

SENDs use an internal Global Positioning System to deliver SOS-type messages for life-threatening emergencies. The Forest Service plans to route the messages to a continuously operational monitoring center that will alert emergency contacts and pre-selected Search And Rescue teams, the announcement said.

SENDs are ideal in remote areas such as a forest environment where the pubic hikes and bikes and are useful for those who work alone in these areas such as loggers, foresters, geologists, fisheries and wildlife staff.

The contractor would be responsible for supplying the dispatch center along with the SEND devices, and battery chargers, cables, user manuals, secure Web portals and other related components.

The exact quantity of devices needed will depend on proposed price and the available budget. However, the department anticipates a 1-year contract to supply the devices with a satellite data service plan, customer support, and Web monitoring services. Another two 1-year options are expected for service and the repair and replacement of damaged units.

About 24 specifications are listed on the RFI, including a requirement that the devices come equipped with a satellite-based transmission (low-earth orbit), offer coverage of the continental U.S., Alaska, and Puerto Rico, and have a minimum of 48-hours of battery life.

All businesses, including small businesses, are encouraged to respond to the RFI, which asks companies to provide a "statement of capability," among other requirements. The RFI will be used for market research to prepare a solicitation.

NEXT STORY: Federal CIO details IT forecast