As the FCC and public safety officials work to define and build out the next-generation 911 infrastructure that will be capable of providing first responders with detailed situational awareness of the scene of an emergency, universities, localities and states have begun building and using some of the pieces envisioned in the completed whole. Providing beneficial information to first responders when a 911 call is received could decrease response times and increase safety.

Numerous projects are under way to increase the flow of information between governments and citizens. For example, state and local governments, including Delaware and two Georgia cities, are encouraging citizens to verify their address and register basic medical information with them to facilitate emergency assistance. And universities have begun deploying platforms that allow users to text 911.

Now a California school district is piloting a smartphone application that brings all those capabilities together and allows students to reach out for emergency help with a touch of a button. So far 12 students in the Alhambra Unified School District are testing the app, called SafeKidZone, which creates a personal safety network for children that quickly connects to 911 when they push the “panic button.”

Go to Emergency Management to read more about the emergency app.