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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