ABOUT THE INTERAGENCY BOARD
Sanctioned by the Attorney General of the United States, the InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB) was founded by the Department of Defense's Consequence Management Program Integration Office and the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures on October 13, 1998.
With the participation of various local, state, and federal government organizations, the IAB formulated its mission statement, organized the board into SubGroups and committees, developed a Charter, and began working to support the Responder Community. Its most significant accomplishment is arguably the Standardized Equipment List (SEL). Literally started on a bar napkin, this list fulfilled a critical need for recommendations on what equipment would be required for mass casualty events such as terrorism or natural disasters. Rather than specifying products, the list specifies types and technologies (SCBA, PPE ensemble, handheld chemical detector, etc.) and provides information on desirable features, operating considerations, and applicable standards. The SEL also provided a model for FEMA in establishing their Authorized Equipment List for grants (AEL). The two lists share a common numbering scheme developed by the IAB, and the IAB provides continuing input to FEMA on changing technology, so that both the SEL and AEL can remain current and useful.
Through more than 20 years and several reorganizations, the IAB has served the community. For example, early in its history the IAB was the driving force in establishing CBRN standards for respirators and, working with NIOSH NPPTL, got the standard in place in record time. IAB position papers on topics such as minimizing responder exposure to synthetic opioids have been used in policy development over the years by DoD, CDC, and the National Security Council.
The most recent reorganization of the IAB occurred due to loss of government funding, and included significant downsizing. In 2023, the group refocused on its original mission of equipment standardization and interoperability, and established the organization shown on this site. The IAB Foundation has become the principal funding mechanism, receiving both individual and organizational contributions. With the worst of the COVID pandemic over, the IAB has resumed in-person meetings and looks forward to continuing its service to the Responder Community.