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Top Highlights from NENA 2024: The Role of the Connected First Responder

Hey everyone! We just got back from the NENA 2024 conference that took place over the course of five days in sunny Orlando, FL. The NENA conference boasts more than ninety hours of breakout sessions and is where public safety leaders go to hear about the current and future state of public safety, meet real-life heroes who inspire others, and share the newest innovations changing the way we protect our communities. While in years past the NENA conference focused on the promise of NG911, this year centered on the role of the connected first responder and how recent innovations are delivering on what was once the promise of 911.  

Here is a recap from NENA 2024 of five ways the connected first responder is changing the way we think about and plan for emergency response:

1. Communication tools like text and live video enhance situational awareness and response accuracy

The digital age has ushered in a new set of expectations for emergency response, where precision, accuracy, and access to real-time data and applications are necessary to meet modern needs. In the session, "Exploring the Life-Saving Impact of NextGen 911," Steve Raucher, RapidDeploy CEO and Co-Founder, led a discussion with Meghan Gonzalez, 911 Communications Officer II from Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, and Corey Dobridnia, Public Information Officer from Walton County Sheriff’s Office, where the two shared their firsthand accounts of how modern communication tools like text-from-911 and RapidVideo, RapidDeploy’s live video tool, had a real life-saving impact. The session highlighted the life-changing potential of NG911 and how innovative NG911 solutions are setting new standards for emergency services.  

The stories and insights shared in this session exemplify the heroism, resilience, and technological adeptness that define the role of the connected first responder and the critical, lifesaving work of telecommunicators. RapidDeploy was honored to recognize individuals from these PSAPs with our quarterly Superstar Award.

Want to hear the full stories? Watch the recap videos on our blog post Celebrating Our RapidDeploy Superstars During Telecommunicators Week.

2. Real-time vehicle telematics data transforms incident response

One of the standout moments at NENA 2024 was the session on "Using Vehicle Telematics to Transform Incident Response." This session was part of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Situational Awareness track, and focused on how telematics data—like location, speed, incident severity info, and driving behaviors—helps emergency teams gather the intelligence they need to enable faster response times, assist law enforcement, and improve standard operating procedures. Todd Komanetsky, VP of Partnerships at RapidDeploy, and Jim Lanier, Global Public Safety Engagement/Strategy Manager at OnStar, showed insights on how shared vehicle telematics between PSAPs and field responders can drastically improve response times and resource allocation.

Learn more about RapidDeploy’s partnership with OnStar, and our other partners, here:

3. 911 call data and actionable intelligence maximize collaboration and communication between PSAPs and Field Responders

NG911 technology connects all first responders with the same data, in real-time, through instant access and communication with each other. In the Innovation Theater on July 1, Steve Raucher spoke about the transformative impact of advanced connectivity and real-time data integration for the effectiveness and safety of first responders. RapidDeploy’s mobile application for field responders, Lightning, was highlighted in this session for its critical role in extending NG911 to the field.  Today, when responding to an emergency, first responders have little direct visibility into the scene, minimal information about the victim, lack instant information on location, and have limited communication options. With Lightning, first responders move beyond the incident location with mission-critical information directly from the PSAP into the palm of their hand, for a faster, more effective, and safer response.

See a short highlight reel here of Lightning in Action.  

4. Collaborative partnerships play a key role in the future of the connected first responder

Throughout the entire event, we saw firsthand how unity, inclusion and partnerships bring people, technology, and the public safety community together. RapidDeploy’s first-ever scavenger hunt at NENA 2024 was a huge success and an example of partnerships both in and out of the innovation room. Attendees participating in the Scavenger Hunt visited our booth to solve riddles and discover our suite of NG911 solutions, including Radius Mapping, Lightning, and Eclipse Analytics. The interactive Scavenger Hunt riddle then led game players to explore and engage with RapidDeploy partners located on the showroom floor, including DATAMARK, AT&T,  OnStar, EagleView, and CRG. Participants who completed the Scavenger Hunt were rewarded with RapidDeploy “I Saw Lightning in Orlando” T-shirts. It was fantastic to see attendees proudly wearing the Lightning logo, fostering a sense of community and shared excitement.

In addition to the scavenger hunt, we hosted several insightful demos at our booth. Lee Anne Storey, our Training Specialist, and Jenni Wade, our Customer Success Manager, led in-depth sessions on mapping & analytics best practices. They shared valuable insights on ways to better utilize mapping and analytics, providing attendees with a comprehensive understanding of how to leverage these tools effectively.

The combination of the Scavenger Hunt and the engaging demos made learning about RapidDeploy both enjoyable and informative. Attendees left with a clearer understanding of how RapidDeploy is transforming emergency response through our innovative solutions.

However, NENA 2024 wasn’t just about sessions and tech—networking was a huge part of the experience. The LGBTQ+ Mixer and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mixer were fantastic opportunities for attendees to connect and discuss important topics around diversity and inclusion in emergency services. The mixers were lively, with lots of great conversations and new connections being made. The Young Professionals Pool Party was another highlight, providing a fun and relaxed setting for the next generation of leaders to meet, share ideas, and unwind. It was great to see so many people from different backgrounds coming together to shape the future of public safety.

5. The connected first responder is committed to safety and innovation

The big theme at NENA 2024 was leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance public safety, and we’re all in. Our Radius Mapping NG911 technology unifies communication and precision location data and creates a seamless emergency response experience. Tools like the Lightning app give first responders crucial information in real-time, making sure they have everything they need right when they need it. We’re dedicated to continuous improvement, and we’re just getting started! Our mission is to save lives by reducing response times and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency services.

We’ve put together a recap video of all the excitement at NENA 2024. Check it out below!

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