The DC Office of Unified Communications and RapidSOS deploy new 911 tech in the District - Technical.ly DC

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Feb. 20, 2019 10:07 am

The DC Office of Unified Communications and RapidSOS deploy new 911 tech in the District

The technology is designed to further help first responders accurately locate 911 callers from their mobile phones.

A rooftop view of D.C.

(Photo by Flickr user Bill Couch, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Washington, DC Office of United Communications (OUC) recently announced a new partnership with RapidSOS to further help first responders accurately locate 911 callers from their mobile phones.

“More than eighty percent of our calls coming in are wireless calls right now,” DC OUC Director Karima Holmes said a press release. “Between visitors, children, and the elderly – many of whom are unaware of their location – this is a tremendous tool to have. It saves precious seconds and allows us to get help to the caller as quickly as possible.”

DC OUC said that 80 percent of 911 calls now come from cell phones and that the 911 infrastructure was originally made for landline phones, making cell phone callers hard to find quickly. RapidSOS, a New York City-based tech company that creates products to aid in emergency communication, has developed tech through emergency API’s in the form of mobile apps, wearables, car sensors and home security systems that allows 911 centers to use data collected to accurately locate callers during emergencies.

The tech has been deployed in 911 call enters across the District and RapidSOS said it has partnered with Apple and Google to enable emergency location for phones with iOS 12 and Android version 4.0 and higher.

“America’s 911 telecommunicators do heroic work managing over 240 million emergencies annually through outdated infrastructure that allows little more than a voice connection,” Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS said in a statement. “We spent the past five years partnering with public safety to transform that voice-only system into a rich data platform. I’m excited to continue our mission of providing life-saving data for every emergency globally.”

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The announcement came ahead of the National Emergency Number Association conference held in D.C. earlier this month, where 911 professionals, tech companies, first responders and dispatchers gathered to discuss 911.

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