San Francisco Partners with RapidSOS for 9-1-1 Integration with Uber
Monday, April 22, 2019 | Comments

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) partnered with RapidSOS to launch 9-1-1 integration technology with Uber in the city and county of San Francisco. San Francisco is the first city in the Bay Area to launch this technology.

“The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management is always seeking ways to increase location accuracy from cellphone callers,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of SFDEM. “This new technology with enhanced location services and travel information will help save lives. We are grateful that our private partners are working with us directly in making San Francisco safer for all our residents and visitors.”

Since late 2018, San Francisco’s 9-1-1 dispatchers began receiving more precise location information from 9-1-1 callers. Developed by RapidSOS, this enhancement gives 9-1-1 dispatchers the ability to toggle between standard carrier automatic number identification/automatic location identification (ANI/ALI) and the phone’s own coordinates, allowing for greater location accuracy. This technology and additional location information is only available on updated versions of iPhones and Androids.

Prior to RapidSOS integration, basic location information that users agree to provide on a mobile device was not provided to San Francisco’s 9-1-1 system when a person called for emergency assistance. As a result, if the mobile caller could not provide location information, the dispatcher would have to initiate a lengthy process in an attempt to approximate a caller’s location. In 2014, the FCC issued a report estimating that improved mobile location information for 9-1-1 would save 10,000 lives annually.

In addition to this enhancement to 9-1-1 call processing, SFDEM, under agreement and through an integration with RapidSOS and Uber, will be the first agency in the Bay Area to receive accurate caller location and additional emergency data from Uber passengers initiating a call to 9-1-1 via the Uber app’s “9-1-1 Assistance” feature.

This new emergency button feature on the Uber app allows 9-1-1 dispatchers to automatically obtain key details, including Uber driver and rider information, vehicle description, license plate, current location and direction of travel. When Uber’s in-app emergency button is used, the information is sent digitally to the RapidSOS interface, which a dispatcher can then access once a caller indicates they are using the Uber service.

“We believe technology can help make the roads safer. This feature is available in more than 60 cities, and we are proud to add San Francisco, our home, to the growing list of cities using this technology,” said Krishnaja Gutta, Uber product safety manager. “Every second counts in an emergency, and we want to make sure Uber users have important information to get help quickly if faced with an emergency situation.”

The new technology will directly benefit and assist with the response from the San Francisco Police Department.

“Our core mission is to ensure the safety of the public,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. “We welcome the use of technology that enables our City’s first responders to react more quickly and efficiently during an emergency.”

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