August 24, 2013 | by

Mobile innovations for emergency response highlighted at Brookings event

BrookingsPanelRPGovernment should form public-private partnerships to incorporate new mobile technologies into emergency response, said panelists at a Brookings Institution event in July.

“Government’s got to create the environment for these new technologies…to ensure the safety of the public or to allow the public to ensure its own safety,” said Jamie Barnett, a former head of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “There’s so many out there that need to be discovered and found.”

Private companies can build on top of platforms such as GPS and the forthcoming FirstNet system, but they can’t provide the level of resources that government can to lay the initial foundation, said Richard Price, a former fire chief in Contra Costa County, Calif. Price is now president of the nonprofit PulsePoint Foundation, whose mobile application lets individuals who can perform CPR receive notifications if someone nearby is having a cardiac arrest.

The app’s users may be close to the patient and able to provide care while traditional first responders are still en route. Plus, many of them are in fact off-duty first responders, Price said. The app also directs users to the nearest portable defibrillator.

Price added, “It kind of redefines what it means to be a witnessed arrest,” a heart attack seen by a bystander who knows CPR. “You only have to be nearby now, not at the exact right place at the exact right time, so the odds are much greater.”

Suzy DeFrancis, the chief public affairs officer at the American Red Cross, detailed some of what her organization has learned incorporating social media into its response efforts.

Read more at FierceMobileGovernment.

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April 26, 2013 | by

Leveraging Open Data, Building Apps for Public Safety

White HouseOne of the core goals of the President’s Safety Data Initiative is to empower first responders and the public with information to make the safest and smartest decisions when they need it. In support of this goal, there has been a proliferation of innovative public safety apps—a number of which have been highlighted at the OSTP-supported Safety Datapalooza—using open data from local governments and Federal agencies.

The Red Cross Hurricane and Earthquake apps, for example, put lifesaving information in the hands of people who live in or are visiting hurricane- and earthquake-prone areas, giving instant access to local information on what to do before, during, and after hurricanes or earthquakes. And the PulsePoint app empowers citizens trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to provide life‐saving assistance to heart attack victims by notifying those trained citizens when someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency. The app also directs citizen rescuers to the location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator.

Read the full post by Tom Power and Brian Forde on the White House website.

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April 23, 2013 | by

APCO Launches Application Community (“AppComm”) Website

AppCommAlexandria, VA – Today the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International launched the Application Community – “AppComm” – a new website dedicated to public safety and emergency response apps for use by the general public, app developers, and first responders.

AppComm is the single, trusted online forum where public safety professionals, the general public, and app developers can rate and comment on apps, submit ideas for new apps to serve public safety needs, and suggest additional apps for inclusion on the site. The site provides clickable links to download the apps from external developer websites and app stores.

As the world’s largest organization of public safety communications professionals, APCO is lending its considerable collective expertise and reputation to create AppComm because it recognizes the importance of providing a platform that the public safety community can trust and rely upon to aggregate and develop the most effective apps for public safety and emergency response.

Read the full press release by APCO International in Public Safety Communications.

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