Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program Leads the Nation With RAPIDSOS Partnership

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Oregon’s 9-1-1 program is the first in the nation to securely deliver lifesaving location information into statewide network

Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program and RapidSOS, an emergency response data platform, have announced a partnership to deliver lifesaving enhanced location data to each of the state’s 43 9-1-1 centers. Oregon is the first in the nation to securely deploy RapidSOS into an existing, secure statewide foundational Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), powered by Lumen. 

“The existing 9-1-1 system used to locate cell phone calls is over 20 years old, designed long before smartphones or GPS,” explained Oregon State 9-1-1 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “When a person calls 9-1-1 from a cell phone, the dispatcher can’t see the caller’s exact location; instead, they have to rely on the caller’s wireless carrier for the information. This data comes from a cell tower that could put the caller miles away from where they physically are depending on several variables, including proximity to the cell tower, topography, and the connecting technology.”

The RapidSOS Platform securely delivers real-time data from smartphones and sensors to 9-1-1 centers, helping 9-1-1 personnel quickly verify emergencies and providing critical location and additional data to effectively dispatch first responders.

Oregon’s foundational ESInet provides secure transport of 9-1-1 location data and other services for delivery across the state. The flexible network enables Oregon 9-1-1 centers to increase situational awareness by integrating innovative platforms such as RapidSOS.

“Of the 2 million 9-1-1 emergency calls received across the state each year, 80% are made using a wireless device,” said Kuchta. “RapidSOS provides an extra level of value by increasing location accuracy so Oregonians can be better located in an emergency when time matters most.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 10,000 lives could annually be saved nationwide if 9-1-1 could locate wireless callers faster, allowing first responders to assist callers sooner.

Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program, Lumen, and RapidSOS implemented the solution in early May 2021, and the state’s 9-1-1 centers currently using RapidSOS have already noticed improved location accuracy resulting in more timely response in real-world scenarios. They are also seeing a cost-benefit; the data allows 9-1-1 centers to eliminate added expenses associated with purchasing costly and redundant distributed networks, security devices, end-user licenses, and the ongoing maintenance costs associated with acquiring supplemental caller location information.

Jessica Reed, Vice President of Strategy and Global Partners at RapidSOS, stated, “We’re united in our commitment to empower safer, stronger communities with intelligent, data-driven emergency response worldwide. Together with the state of Oregon, we’re providing people with an added layer of safety and security and supporting our heroic first responders in saving millions of lives annually.”

Lifesaving emergency data available via the RapidSOS Platform is securely transmitted over Oregon’s foundational ESInet utilizing Transport Layer Security (TLS), a fundamental security function that encrypts the data and employs a trusted certificate exchange. 

According to Andrew Phelps, Director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, “We are pleased to have pioneered a solution that addresses this lifesaving need, ultimately helping Oregon’s citizens when they are in an emergency and every second counts.”

About Author

Chris Crabb is a Public Information Officer at the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, which coordinates and maintains a statewide emergency services system for emergency and disaster communications.

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