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RapidDeploy Uses ‘Lightning’ for Data Sharing in Emergencies

The seller of public safety technology has a new app designed to give police, firefighters and medical workers more access to real-time data in the field. Kansas is the first big customer of this new product.

A police officer looks at the computer inside of their patrol car.
Texas-based RapidDeploy, which sells public safety technology, has launched an app called Lightning that is designed to send real-time video and other critical information about emergency calls to first responders.

As the company put it in a statement, the general idea of the new app is to encourage the sharing of data among first responders, even if they are from different agencies. The app stands as the latest example of the spread of location data technology for emergencies, one of the biggest trends in the public safety space.

Kansas is the first statewide customer for Lightning, RapidDeploy said.

The effort involves more than 100 emergency dispatch centers in the state and up to 24,000 police, firefighters and medical personnel.

Delivery of the product will take place in mid-December, followed by feedback from select users and a pilot program in early 2024, Michele Abbott, communication and training coordinator for the KS911 Coordinating Council, told Government Technology.

“We see this as a utility for all first responders,” she said. “This is not a replacement [of existing technology] but support and enhancement for what agencies already have.”

First responders can install the app on their own mobile devices and then access such data sources as Department of Transportation cameras or GIS mapping layers to aid with emergency responses, including location accuracy.

RapidDeploy said the new app is “powered” by its Radius Mapping call-taking map technology, used by some 1,500 emergency dispatch operations.

“We have a number of statewide and regional customers who plan to deploy Lightning to tens of thousands of first responders,” Steve Raucher, CEO of RapidDeploy, told Government Technology via email, without providing specific geographical details. “These are existing Radius Mapping customers who can leverage their coverage for ease of deployment.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.