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My Technology Can: Put Next Gen 911 in Your Hands

RapidDeploy’s Lightning delivers call data and critical intelligence directly to first responders’ mobile devices.

In the face of dynamic and increasingly complex emergencies, it's become crystal clear: emergency response must evolve. And the power of the cloud is at the heart of this evolution. The digital age has ushered in a new set of expectations for emergency response—where precision, immediacy, and diversified communication channels are now expected, especially when lives are on the line.

By harnessing the power of the cloud’s resiliency and scale, and pushing the boundaries of lifesaving technology, we can build technology that ensures all responders—from telecommunicators and dispatchers inside the call center to those in the field across law enforcement, fire, and EMS—have access to the data they need to save lives. This data superpower strengthens agencies with greater communication, efficient coordination, and more effective response throughout the unified 911 workflow.

The next wave of Next Generation 911 (NG911) solutions is shaping a new future for emergency response, backed by the secure sharing of information, enhanced situational awareness, and greater access to real-time intelligence throughout the emergency response journey—from within the Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) and Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) into the field.


Public safety has had limited access to real-time, critical emergency information, which has created siloed communication and coordination across agencies and related departments. This has resulted in less effective incident response. And in pivotal moments, disconnected tools and siloed data can spell the difference between success and tragedy.

Although we have witnessed an industrywide effort to transition away from traditional, analog infrastructures and toward Next Generation 911, much of the tech stack today will not support the continued innovation needed for the future of public safety.

Current first responder technology can consist of a radio, internet via the router in the trunk, mobile data terminals, automated vehicle location, and more. However, it has not been easy to innovate on top of these solutions in a way that supports the transition to NG911, and responders often find it difficult to manage all of their disparate tech. Simply put, the current tech stack does not meet the profession’s need for streamlined, integrated 911 workflows, the secure and efficient sharing of essential information, ease of communication. and the continuous adoption of modern applications such as live video and text capabilities.

Today, field responders have not had access to the same level of real-time information as 911 call takers, limiting their direct access to situational awareness, impacting accurate and efficient incident response, and creating barriers for unit safety.

Greater information sharing is particularly important for unit safety and efficient and effective response, from last known location to breadcrumbs that help track the caller and provide responders with location details when the scene is moving.

Without changing the way critical information is shared with the field, we cannot recognize the true potential of cloud.


By taking the power of a cloud-native primary call-taking map, and extending it to the field, within a secure, mobile app, we can break through agency and departmental siloes and optimize the way information is shared across all responders. That's what RapidDeploy's app called Lightning can do.

Powered by RapidDeploy’s Radius Mapping solution, Lightning delivers 911 call data and critical intelligence directly to first responders’ devices, including smartphones and tablets. Lightning is built for field responders and unifies mapping layers, location accuracy, situational awareness, and modern communications into a single handheld device.

The ability to have a mobile app deliver accurate locations, provide life-saving information, and facilitate the necessary communication platforms to all (police, fire, highway patrol, EMS, volunteer fire, and others) democratizes public safety. Regardless of where you are (from rural areas to suburban or urban regions), and the size of your agency, Lightning can make sure that every responder has access to the critical response capabilities and actionable intelligence they need to save lives.

As 911 calls come into the call center, Lightning receives the precise location and contextual awareness from the call and directly delivers mission critical information to field responder devices. As a result, field responders are not just informed; they are empowered to resolve the situation with mission critical response capabilities that support team safety and improve emergency response outcomes.

Some of the vital tools and intelligent information within Lightning includes:

  • Device-based location with breadcrumbs
  • 911 calls and responder proximity
  • Native navigation
  • Live streaming video
  • CCTV viewing
  • Supplemental data including, vehicle telematics data, vehicle cut sheets, stolen vehicle tracking, plus more
  • Critical incident boards
  • Mapping layers including authoritative GIS and indoor floor plans

Lightning provides benefits both to the emergency call center/PSAP and the field responders by ensuring an immediate transfer of critical information.

With NG911 available to all responders via the Lightning app, RapidDeploy is not just enabling a technical upgrade; we are marking a revolutionary change in how we access data and respond to emergencies throughout the 911 journey—from  when the first call comes in, to dispatch and all the way through to arriving on the scene and resolving the incident.


In August 2023, Kansas recognized Lightning as an app that enables the sharing of data across state and local stakeholders, providing 911 centers. and 24,000 first responders access to real-time, life-saving information to aid in response efforts.

Kansas awarded RapidDeploy a multi-year, statewide contract for Lightning after having success with its cloud-based primary call-taking map, Radius Mapping. With Radius Mapping deployed across all 100 centers, Lightning is now going to extend the benefits of NG911 to the field delivering NG911 directly to responders’ mobile devices.

The Lightning implementation marked the first time Kansas voted unanimously to procure a product across all stakeholders, including government, IT, police officer association, fire chief association, tribal representatives, and elected officials. The agreement across agencies demonstrates the broad impact of Lightning and the ability for Lightning to play a role in democratizing public safety.

The combination of Radius Mapping and Lightning together supports KS911’s data sharing initiative, which aims to provide a shared of view of information across agencies, specific roles and related departments.

The Kansas 911 Coordinating Council is excited to partner with RapidDeploy to place vital information at the fingertips of responders both in the field and abroad," says Troy Briggs, Kansas 911 Coordinating Council Chairman and Haskell County Sheriff.

The cohesive nature of the app will allow faster more efficient response and better asset management, and our goal at RapidDeploy is to put forth a solution spanning boundaries and bringing safe and effective response to small- and large-scale incidents. Lightning provides a single application for managing location and data throughput at a local and regional level, which field responders can download and manage at the grassroots level. We expect Lightning to also help the overburdened communicators across the state by allowing them to focus on callers and giving responders the ability to accurately arrive at scenes with little interruption in the call taking process. 

Steven Raucher is co-founder and CEO of RapidDeploy.