Using technology to connect with your community
Published: 8/13/2020
Author: Jeffrey D. Johnson, Executive Director, Western Fire Chiefs Association

Navigating and adapting through the current environment has never been more important for first responders. And using technology to improve how we protect the communities we serve is something first responders are very good at. The Neighbors Public Safety Service (NPSS) by home security company Ring, for example, is an excellent free tool for first responders from a proven, reputable company. Everyone is safer when relevant and timely information is available to citizens and public safety agencies alike. Importantly, response becomes more efficient and coordinated and the public feels connected to our work.

Ring designed the free Neighbors app to help community members connect and stay informed about public safety incidents—whether they own a Ring device or not. The company’s mission to make neighborhoods safer is founded in the belief that communities are stronger and healthier when they’re united, communicating, and sharing. Today, millions of people across the country are now using Neighbors to connect with each other. People can download the app to their phone, and immediately connect with others in their community—either through sharing posts with information that might be helpful to their community, or by engaging with others on the app in the comments section.

And so far, the results have been amazing. Neighbors users far and wide have shared stories of how their Ring products and Neighbors have aided their communities to help missing at-risk adults and children reunite with their families, keep neighbors safe in case of fire and natural disasters, and connect residents with organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

NPSS enables public safety agencies to join users on Neighbors to share important, hyper-local safety information and resources with residents via push notifications. NPSS users can respond to publicly posted content on the app in the service of helping make neighborhoods and communities at large safer. With NPSS, public safety users can also submit requests for assistance in relation to a local safety incident and users can decide what information—if any—they’d like to share. It’s ultimately a more efficient way for public safety agencies to engage with our communities where they are—on their phones.

We, as public safety officers, have a duty to consistently find new ways to best support the communities we are sworn to serve. And, as private businesses continue to innovate and create new technology, we should look for ways to use that technology to help us in our work. I look forward to seeing this collaboration continue to grow, because it means we will continue to improve on our efforts to do what we do best as firefighters—keep people safe. If you want to learn more about NPSS click here.

Ring is an advertising partner of Western Fire Chiefs Association. Western Fire Chiefs Association did not receive any compensation for this article.

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