DHS and NASA to demonstrate and transition final prototype of technology to locate people trapped in rubble after disasters

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), will demonstrate the final prototype of the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) — a radar technology designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage — at the Virginia Task Force ONE Training Facility in Lorton, Virginia, on Thursday, May 7. S&T and NASA JPL will demonstrate the technology — with the assistance of members of Virginia Task Force ONE — and transition it to a commercial enterprise where it can be manufactured and made available to search and rescue teams. 

FINDER has previously demonstrated capabilities of finding people buried under up to 30 feet of rubble, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet in open spaces. A new “locator” feature has since been added to not only provide search and rescue responders with confirmation of a heartbeat, but also the approximate location of trapped individuals. This week, the FINDER technology began its first field deployment as it arrived in Nepal and began assisting in the search for victims trapped in the rubble from the recent earthquake.

WHO:   –John Price, Program Manager, First Responders Group, DHS S&T 

              –Jim Lux, FINDER Task Manager, Communications Tracking and Radar Division, NASA-JPL

              –Chuck Ryan, Deputy Chief, Virginia Task Force ONE 

              –Richard R. Bowers, Jr., Chief, Fairfax Fire & Rescue Department                     

WHAT:  Demonstration of the FINDER technology in a simulated post-disaster search and rescue scenario

WHEN: May 7, 2015, 10:30 a.m. EDT

WHERE:  Virginia Task Force One Training Facility

9850 Furnace Road (use 9900 for GPS)

Lorton, Virginia 22079

Reporters planning to attend should RSVP to Stacey Levitt Stacey.Levitt@associates.hq.dhs.gov or 202-254-6769.

Additional background information about FINDER can be found at: http://www.dhs.gov/detecting-heartbeats-rubble-dhs-and-nasa-team-save-victims-disasters

Media contacts:


John Verrico

DHS S&T Press Office, Washington



Elizabeth Landau

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.



Joshua Buck

NASA Headquarters, Washington




Randal Bittinger

Virginia Task Force ONE, Lorton, Va.