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APCO and NENA draft guidance document for E9-1-1 app developers

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) have partnered to draft educational materials that will provide smart phone application (app) developers an in-depth understanding of current enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) system capabilities and limitations.

The document, entitled Public Safety Considerations for Smartphone Application Developers, can be found by clicking this link: http://apcointl.org/resources/app-developers.html.

Due to the increase of smart phone apps entering the market involving public safety and emergency communications, APCO felt that there was a strong need to better inform current and potential app developers of the systems’ capabilities. Many of these new apps display a high degree of creativity and innovation, but they need to take into consideration the E9-1-1 technical architecture as well as the operations of public safety answering points (PSAPs), which may influence these product offerings, said an APCO press release issued on Oct. 10.

The document cites five limitations that app developers should recognize:

( 1 )  Only voice and a single 8 or 10 digit reference code can be carried with an E9-1-1 call.

( 2 )  The public expects that their location will be automatically delivered to the 9-1-1 Center any time they call or contact 9-1-1.

( 3 )  Most 9-1-1 Centers currently cannot accept text, pictures or videos, nor can they receive additional data such as personal information, medical history or building floor plans.

( 4 )  An App that notifies the caller’s family or friends of an emergency situation should not be viewed as a solution for contacting 9-1-1.

( 5 )  The App must not interfere with the handset’s ability to place a voice 9-1-1 call to the local authority.


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