First Responder Authentication Credential (FRAC) is not a widely recognized or established term or standard in the field of emergency response or identity management. First Responder Authentication Credentials are PIV Interoperable Card (PIV-I) – an identity card that meets the PIV technical specifications to work with PIV infrastructure elements such as smart card readers, and is issued in a manner that allows Federal government relying parties to trust the card.

However, based on the words in the term, it can be inferred that “First Responder Authentication Credentials” would likely refer to some form of authentication credentials designed specifically for first responders. First responders are individuals who are among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

The FARC is a specialized credentialing system or identity management approach intended to grant first responders secure access to critical systems, resources, or sensitive information during emergency situations. Such credentials could be in the form of ID cards, smart cards, biometric identifiers, or other secure authentication methods.

PIV-I FRAC Technology Transition Working Group

This national Working Group bring together states, local government and federal agencies and the private sector to support ICAM (Identity, Access & Credentialing Management) capabilities and the continued development, testing, and evaluating interoperable tools, technologies, standards, and protocols for the purpose of controlling user access within and outside of organizational boundaries.

Federal and mutual aid emergency response/recovery officials (F/EROs) must be able to collaborate to ensure the public’s safety. However, for this to happen, many identity management challenges must be overcome. While Federal agencies are rapidly deploying secure common identification standards based on guidance from the White House and other Federal entities, State and local emergency response officials are working to establish a Personal Identity Verification-Interoperable (PIV-I) / First Responder Authentication Credential (FRAC) standard that is interoperable between local, State, and Federal levels.  In the past, physical access to sites would be granted based on personal judgment, rather than on hard identity data. Logical access to computer systems required only a username and password. Today, Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, and other White House and Federal guidance specify that access to all Federal computer systems requires secure forms of identification based on smart card technology and identity-proofing procedures. Local, State, and Federal stakeholders need to collaborate to solve these identity management challenges.

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