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Reimagining Emergency Response with Lightning

Lightning: A Mobile App to Change the Game

Earlier this week, at APCO 2023, we launched Lightning, a new mobile app that delivers 911 call data and critical information directly to first responders' mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

The new Lightning application will provide thousands of first responders with 911 call data in the palms of their hands, transforming the way in which information is shared in the field directly improve emergency response, better preparing first responders and driving life-saving outcomes.

Powered by Radius Mapping and built for all first responders, Lightning includes a map, location accuracy, situational awareness and modern communications tools– all within a single, unified mobile solution.

Key Lightning app features include:

  • Responder location sharing, providing a holistic view of critical incidents and tracking of first responders
  • Live incident board for a common operating picture, improved communications and efficient video-sharing, for large-scale incidents
  • Vehicle telematics crash data with crash severity scores and cut plans to aide in extrication
  • Direct access to CCTV and real-time video sharing
  • Detailed Next Gen mapping, from GIS to indoor floorplans to the z-axis
  • Zero trust architecture and single sign on (SSO) for secure and controlled access
  • BYOD (bring your own device) with broad capability including iOS and Android devices

Get in touch to find out how Lightning can empower first responders in communities near you.

RapidDeploy Supports Arizona in Super Bowl LVII with Radius Mapping

Super Bowl LVII, held on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, was a massive event that required a robust emergency response plan to ensure the safety of attendees and residents alike.  

RapidDeploy played a crucial role in supporting Arizona, ensuring that multiple 911 agencies in the Glendale and Scottsdale areas had a cloud-native mapping solution that met their emergency requirements for a large-scale event in record time – less than two weeks.  

With RapidDeploy’s Radius Mapping and Eclipse Analytics solutions already implemented across the state of Arizona, we collaborated with multiple agencies to create a unified mapping platform with a holistic view of all 911 calls coming into the centers. The enabled real-time emergency response and enhanced situational awareness.

In addition to establishing a single map for all 911 calls and providing access to agencies across Glendale Arizona, RapidDeploy partnered with DATAMARK GIS for GIS hosting and Critical Response Group to visualize detailed floor plans of the stadium and surrounding grounds, providing a new level of critical information to aid in response efforts.

Download the complete Case study here learn more about:  

  • How multiple agencies leverage a single map for all 911 calls
  • The benefits of digital floor plans integrated with Radius Mapping
  • How RapidDeploy can support you in large-scale events with proven deployment and implementation and robust training and customer support
  • The value of NG911 capabilities including 2-way Text to communicate with callers and greater situational awareness

Super Bowl LVII in Arizona served as a testament to the importance of seamless emergency response coordination during large-scale events. By delivering real-time information in a single pane of glass, RapidDeploy demonstrated the value of a shared view across multiple agencies and jurisdictions, and supported the promise of driving better outcomes, improving emergency response, and enhancing 911 workflows.

Prepare for New School Safety Measures in Texas

In recent times, school safety has become a top priority across Texas, prompting the passage of critical bills to improve emergency response in educational institutions.  

We had the privilege of interviewing Christy Williams, Director of NCT911, to unpack the evolution of school safety in Texas, and explore how 911 agencies are adapting to new legislation and technology.  

The interview provides insight into the impact of HB 3 bill and SB 838 on school safety, outlines the changes expected in Texas, and demonstrates how RapidDeploy is helping to enhance emergency response with the data and applications that can make a difference in our schools today.

RD: How is 911 adapting to new school safety measures?

CW: NCT911 is actively collaborating with local Independent School Districts (ISDs) and Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) to enhance emergency response and school safety.  

The recent HB 3 bill requires districts to share detailed maps and floor plans of each campus with law enforcement and emergency responders. NCT911 has been working on a school floor plan project with ISDs and is continuing this effort by capturing and maintaining indoor mapping information, including floor plans, for schools in the region. This data will be integrated into Radius Mapping used in over 40 911 centers in North Central Texas.

SB 838, commonly known as Alyssa's Law, mandates the provision of silent panic alert buttons in each classroom, enabling teachers to have immediate contact with emergency services agencies. NCT911 is actively working to educate superintendents on the implementation of this requirement and address potential technological challenges.

By fostering a strong loop of communication among schools, ECCs, and NCT911, accurate information can be efficiently routed to 911 ECCs, ensuring a swift and coordinated response to emergencies.

RD: What changes do you expect to see across Texas, and how can 911 be prepared to satisfy new requirements?

CW: While implementing new safety measures on a large scale takes time, administrators are eager to effect positive change and promptly adhere to new requirements. The rollout of panic buttons in schools is expected to be among the first significant changes for 911 centers, though challenges may arise due to the variety of potential service providers and information delivery methods.

To prepare for these changes, 911 agencies must focus on building strong partnerships with vendors and technology providers. NCT911, for example, has leveraged its existing partnership with RapidDeploy to gain valuable insights into various service providers for panic buttons, indoor floor plans, and live feeds from school security cameras. Additionally, agencies must prioritize training for telecommunicators and develop new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle incoming panic alerts effectively.

The legislative mandate for accurate floor plan data is expected to improve emergency response by enhancing situational awareness for both telecommunicators and field responders. Collaborative efforts between NCT911 and RapidDeploy could visualize floor plans and incorporate panic buttons and video into Radius Mapping, providing 911 telecommunicators with invaluable location-based data, critical information, and triggered alerts, all of which have not been previously available.

RD: What should 911 agencies across Texas be looking for as they enhance their centers for school safety?

CW: 911 agencies must embrace technological solutions to address evolving safety challenges effectively. By integrating a range of critical data and modern communication applications into their systems, agencies can substantially improve school safety measures, and enhance the workflow to better protect the public they serve. This will require close collaboration with technology vendors to create awareness, training, and new procedures that align with the role of the telecommunicator and with the 911 workflow.

Furthermore, 911 centers must make the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) to accommodate additional data through IP-based systems. Building strong relationships between ECCs and ISDs is crucial for effective communication and understanding the specific needs of schools. Regular visits from schools to ECCs can foster better understanding and enable more efficient responses during emergencies.

RD: How will emergency response teams, including telecommunicators and first responders, benefit from the new school safety measures?

CW: The integration of floor plans and panic buttons provides emergency response teams with invaluable situational awareness during school-related emergencies. Having access to detailed school layouts allows for quicker and more accurate responses. Additionally, effective communication among 911 callers, telecommunicators, and first responders is facilitated, facilitating more coordinated and efficient response.

Utilizing advanced technology and additional data display on core 911 systems and mapping platforms enhances the overall safety of schools and first responders. Partnering with innovative companies like RapidDeploy enables agencies to save lives and make a significant difference in emergency response efforts.


As a partner in NCT911’s transition to Next Generation 911 solutions, RapidDeploy is committed to supporting agencies in their efforts to implement cutting-edge solutions, such as panic buttons, floorplan integration, CCTV, and the real-time visualization of information and GIS data to protect our children, teachers, and administrators. Together with NCT911 and our valued partners, RapidDeploy can further its mission of saving lives by reducing response times.  

Staffing is the Number One Challenge in Public Safety – Get the Details from NENA 2023

At NENA 2023, Steve Raucher, RapidDeploy CEO and Co-founder, joined Jacob Saur, Arlington ECC Director on stage to discuss challenges faced in recruiting and retaining telecommunicators, the path to embracing technology, and the potential of remote call-taking with the transformative power of technology in today’s PSAPs.  

Here are some of the key topics and learnings from the lively session.

Staffing Shortages and Recruitment Challenges:

The industry is grappling with an average staffing shortage of 30%. The following factors are contributing to the difficulties in recruiting and retaining telecommunicators:

  1. Stress: The high-stress nature of the job poses challenges for attracting and retaining talent.
  2. Low pay: Compensation levels often fail to compete with other sectors, making it challenging to attract skilled professionals.
  3. Workload and Shiftwork: Long hours and shift work impact work-life balance, leading to higher turnover rates.
  4. Tech Limitations: Outdated software and a lack of familiar features hamper productivity and frustrate employees.
  5. Inflexibility: The requirement to work solely within the PSAP limits flexibility and may deter potential candidates.

Remote Call Taking - A Retention Tactic:

Jacob shared how Alexandria’s 911 center has addressed remote call taking as a strategy for employee retention. Over the years, increasing workloads and the introduction of new tools have extended training times, with almost three years required for training at their center. Arlington ECC implemented 12 remote call-taking stations in dispatch and two in remote fire dispatch.  

Key highlights of their approach include:

  1. Scalability: In the event of a mass incident, additional call-takers can be easily added remotely, reducing travel time and ensuring a safer response.
  2. Post-Pandemic Utilization: Following the pandemic, remote call-taking stations were repurposed for overtime shifts while employees returned to the center for regular shifts.
  3. Enhanced Technology: Upgrades to equipment will enable employees to work regular shifts from home, utilizing tools like Amazon Connect and Microsoft Teams for collaboration.
  4. Transcription and Analysis: Arlington is testing AWS transcription services to analyze non-emergency calls and gain valuable insights.
  5. Shared Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): ECC Arlington is willing to share SOPs to facilitate the implementation of remote call-taking solutions in other PSAPs.

Overcoming Challenges with Technology:

Steve emphasized the need to use technology to solve problems, including staffing, operations and performance. In addition to cloud-native mapping and analytics, RapidDeploy recently announced RapidONE, a new browser-based call-handling solution that will further enhance the emergency response workflow, simplify operations and create more flexible and portable working environments. The discussion with Jake and Steve highlighted the need to embrace technology to:

  • Provide the 911 support to communities from anywhere
  • the number of screens and workspace needed to effectively and efficiently communicate with callers and dispatch with accuracy
  • Improve the emergency response working experience by offering staff greater flexibility in high-stress, demanding jobs  

By adopting flexible work arrangements and leveraging advanced tools, ECCs and PSAPs can address staffing issues, improve efficiency, and enhance emergency response services.  

It is crucial for the industry to embrace innovation and adapt to the changing landscape to create a more resilient and effective emergency communication system.

RapidDeploy is Ready to Support Florida’s Bill for New School Safety Measures
Photo: Critical Response Group and RapidDeploy’s Radius Mapping visualizing indoor mapping to support school safety measures

Accurate and accessible indoor floor plans are essential for school safety. Florida Senate Bill 212 now requires communities to provide human-verified indoor floor plans and mandates that these maps are accessible by 911 for improved public safety.

RapidDeploy is proud to partner with companies like Critical Response Group (CRG) to improve school safety and ready to support Florida Senate Bill 212. By integrating school floor plans directly into RapidDeploy Radius Mapping, call takers have instant awareness of a caller inside or near the school, and can automatically see the location of the caller inside the building—all within an accurate and digitized floor plan.

When moments matter, having a single unified view of all available data is essential to support the school safety workflow. Our curated and robust partner network includes data and applications that integrate directly within Radius Mapping to support school safety, including indoor mapping, panic buttons, CCTV, and real-time visualization of information on authoritative GIS.

Powered by the cloud, Radius Mapping integrates floor plans into agency authoritative and commercially available GIS data and automatically plots the location of 911 caller, giving call takers and dispatchers the situational awareness they need to route emergency services effectively and efficiently.

Once the call or signal is initiated from a landline, mobile device, or panic button, the location appears on the live map, showing the exact caller location, within the school, in real-time. Instant access to critical location information and floor plan intelligence enables more effective communication with the caller and first responders.

Leveraging technology that integrates accurate floor plans and emergency calls, and visualizes it in a single screen significantly enhances school safety measures and can improve outcomes.

If your agency is currently working to understand how to visualize current or future floor plans or panic button data within your 9-1-1 systems, RapidDeploy can help.

Get in touch with us to learn more.

You can also visit Critical Response Group for more information.

Save Stories
Saving Lives Matters: Blount County Saves Lives of Lost Hikers Across Tennessee State Lines with RapidDeploy Technology

Next Generation 911 technology is improving outcomes - RapidDeploy Radius Mapping pinpointed the caller’s location, when other solutions like their CHE and other tools were not able to locate the caller

  • Blount County E-911 received a distressed call from a mobile device, reporting that a group of hikers were lost, injured, and had very little water and food
  • Leveraging commercial and statewide authoritative GIS data and location technology with Radius Mapping, they were able to see that the hikers transversed to another trail and state entirely - and were not on the path they believed they were on

Blount County in Tennessee contacted Graham County in North Carolina to let them know where to find the missing hikers, who were long overdue. “Without the help of RapidDeploy, we would not have been able to obtain the hikers GPS coordinates and contact Graham County 911. “

James B. Long, Blount County E-911

NG911 solutions provide critical information and the technology integrations needed to drive better outcomes. Today, RapidDeploy Radius Mapping solution is leveraged by 1,500+ emergency communications centers for:

  • Location Accuracy: Mobile location data to pinpoint callers using mobile location
  • GIS Data: NG9-1-1 GIS platform leverages Esri Geospatial Cloud and authoritative GIS data
  • Situational Awareness: Unified map for all data sources built to save lives a

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