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What is RapidSOS?

May 5, 2020
Paramedic posing for camera, ambulance crew transporting patient on background

Technology is often considered the story of human progress. Since the 1950s, our lives have changed dramatically thanks to things like the internet, computers, and connected devices. Our smartphones, connected cars, wearable devices, and home automation platforms circulate more data than we could store even just a decade ago. 

For all the progress we’ve made, however, our emergency services still rely on decades old technology to save lives. Did you know that the FCC estimates over 10,000 lives could have been saved per year if 911 could find them faster?

Our 911 system, built over 50 years ago, relies on the limited information a phone call can provide for people to get help. The result is this outdated infrastructure can’t even display your name or your exact location in an emergency. Why should our smartphones know our heart rate, sleep schedule, and precise location at all times, but the people we call for help can only help us if we tell them where we are, who we are, and why we need help in the first place?

That’s where RapidSOS comes in.

The RapidSOS Emergency Response Data Platform

In partnership with Public Safety, RapidSOS has created the world’s first emergency response data platform that securely links life-saving data from connected devices, apps, and profiles directly to 911 and first responders in an emergency.

RapidSOS works with over 4,700 911 centers nationwide, protecting over 90 percent of the American population. Together with innovative companies certified as RapidSOS Ready, we are supporting our heroic first responders in saving millions of lives annually.

Last year, we helped manage over 150 million emergency calls – our goal is to empower data-driven emergency response worldwide.

How does it work?

RapidSOS sends critical location and additional data to 911 through the two-sided emergency response platform. On one end, we intake emergency data from tech partners and opt-in profiles, and on the other end we send it to 911 centers. We share this data with 911 when a RapidSOS Ready device, app, or individual with an emergency health profile calls 911 for help, whether it’s from your smartphone, through your Uber app, or from your connected car.

Data is sent from connected devices through the RapidSOS emergency response data platform to 911 centers nationwide

The RapidSOS platform is the trusted source of additional emergency data for over 4,700 emergency communications centers across the country.

Information is shared with 911 in a format that they are trained on and used to. There are two ways for 911 to access this information:

  1. RapidSOS Portal, a secure web-based portal
  2. API integrations with every major 911 software system

We offer this service at no cost to 911 agencies so that any first responder, regardless of budget, can access this critical information.

Improving situational awareness with IoT data

As we expand our offerings for 911, we’re also thinking about the other side of our platform: our tech and IoT data partners. As we bring on more partners like Uber, SafeZone, and invisaWear, we’re powering safety features that can materially protect people like never before. We enable things like panic buttons, apps, and health databases to interface with 911, so you can be sure you’ll get the help you need.

We send user profiles, critical medical information, vehicle telemetry data, gunfire detection data, and more, directly to 911 during emergencies. This is so important because it enables 911 dispatchers to make decisions about who to send, what equipment to bring, and where to send them the moment you dial 911. 

Think about it: if you were in an emergency situation, and you didn’t know your location, couldn’t fully articulate your problem, or couldn’t speak to the telecommunicator, how would you know if the help you need is coming? 

We’d often rely solely on the ingenuity and bravery of our first responders to figure it out, but there’s more that can be done to provide them with all of the context they need to make informed decisions before, during, and after an emergency.

For many of us who have been lucky enough to never have to call 911, it’s probably a thought that’s never even crossed your mind. But in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to remember your allergies, pre-existing conditions, or any other health context that could be critical to the care you receive.

Connecting Devices and Data to 911

We work with partners in any industry that take safety seriously, whether they’re building digital health solutions, wearable devices, connected building technology, or ride sharing apps.

Any company or organization with relevant user information can connect their devices or data to the RapidSOS platform, to help us modernize our emergency response infrastructure.

MedicAlert, for example, connected their member health database to 911 through RapidSOS to ensure first responders have immediate access. Uber powers their panic button by sending user profiles directly to 911 whenever a driver or passenger calls or texts 911 from within their app.

All of our partners are certified as RapidSOS Ready: they’re committed to safely and securely sharing data during emergencies. To learn more connecting your organization’s database to 911, check out our page on emergency health information.

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