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Portal promotes public safety apps

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has launched a new website portal for public safety apps that promotes collaboration between emergency-response organizations and the public. The Application Community, or AppComm, is designed to be a clearinghouse for applications related to public safety and emergency response, for use by the general public and first responders.

APCO represents more than 15,000 public safety communications professionals around the world, and the new website is an effort to get their information out to the public. The launch began with 65 apps developed by various emergency response organizations. They are grouped by type of public safety service and range from safety manuals to crime maps to emergency alert programs.

Some of the apps available bear titles such as Campus Sentinel, 911 Help, Reroute, Quake Buddy and a couple named Emergency Response Guidebook. The site lets public safety professionals, the public and app developers rate and comment on apps as well as suggest ideas for new ones.

Mobile apps can not only allow first responders do their jobs more efficiently, but also keep the general public better informed. Chris Russo, founder and executive vice president of Elerts Corp. and Deputy Fire Chief of Hull, Mass., cited their importance. “Recent events impacting public safety have demonstrated the incredible power of mobile applications, advanced technologies and social media,” he said. “By serving as a central location for fostering development of public safety apps, AppComm will certainly lead to better ways to protect the public at large.”

APCO is also in the process of developing standards that govern the apps and their distribution. According to the APCO website, the proposed standards will address

  • Development of common approach to interfaces
  • Device- and operating system- agnostic applications
  • Integration to both legacy and next generation public safety communications systems
  • Security requirements
  • The critical nature of location information
  • Evolution of voice and data networks in public safety

Once completed, the draft standards will be available for review.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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