FAQs


AppComm is APCO International’s online Application Community.  Here, you will find a collection of applications related to public safety and emergency response for use by the general public and first responders.  AppComm is also a forum where public safety professionals, the general public, and app developers can discuss and rate apps, identify unmet needs, and submit ideas for apps they’d like to see built.  As you browse our growing list of apps, we encourage you to tell us which ones you’ve used, whether you liked it, and why.  Additionally, if you are aware of an app that would be a good fit for our site, please use the “Submit App” tab located at the top of the page.  If you have a suggestion for an app you don’t see listed, be sure to submit your idea to AppComm by email to appcomm@apcointl.org.  We intend for this site to be your single, trusted source of public safety apps.

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world’s largest organization of public safety communications professionals.  We are a non-profit association, and our members include state and local employees of law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service departments, as well as 9-1-1 call centers (known as public safety answering points) and emergency operations centers.  APCO members receive 9-1-1 calls placed by the public, dispatch first responders to protect the safety of life and property, and handle emergency communications during events ranging from local incidents to the worst of disasters.  Our members and professional staff are experts in public safety communications and have decades of experience developing consensus-based standards.  APCO’s membership also represents the intended user base of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

Public safety communications technology is undergoing a major transformation to advanced, IP-based platforms.  The introduction of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) nationwide network and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems will enable the use of new applications (“apps”) that will become essential components of emergency response.  Accordingly, APCO recognizes the significant potential of apps to revolutionize the public safety communications landscape in a variety of ways.

 

With its unique expertise in public safety communications, APCO is determined to play a major leadership role in supporting the development of a diverse, practitioner-driven public safety app ecosystem fostered through the collaborative efforts of public safety professionals and app developers.  APCO designed AppComm to facilitate this collaboration by serving as the single, trusted site to review, comment, and rate public safety apps, as well as the best forum to submit ideas for new apps.  These features in turn will support our standards development efforts and allow us to foster innovation driven by public safety’s needs.

“FirstNet” is short for the First Responder Network Authority, an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that is tasked by law with overseeing the deployment of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network (NPSBN).  This mobile broadband network will enable first responders to use new apps that will become essential components of emergency response.

APCO staff, some of whom are either active or former first responders, reviewed the vast collection of public safety apps and initially identified those most representative of the value and diversity available for download.  APCO will continue to monitor and update the growing list of apps for public safety use, including those submitted through the “Submit App” feature.  For more information about criteria that may be applied to apps being considered, see Key Attributes of Effective Apps for Public Safety and Emergency Response.

While we strive to make AppComm a comprehensive list of public safety apps, it’s hard to find them all.  Please tell us if you’re aware of an app that isn’t listed here.  Click “Submit App” or send an email to appcomm@apcointl.org.

While anyone can submit an idea for an app or tell us about one via email, only registered AppComm users may submit apps for a complete posting on AppComm.  We do this to protect our users and APCO from spam and unwelcome comments.

When you’ve created an account and logged in, clicking “Submit App” takes you to a form that will capture detailed information about the app.  Submission does not necessarily mean the app will be posted.  We will review your submission to determine whether the app is appropriate for AppComm and may ask you for additional information.

No, you cannot download or purchase apps from AppComm.  Instead, we provide clickable links to external websites and app stores where you can download or purchase the apps.

While some apps you download can be used right away, others require some level of involvement from a state or local public safety agency.  For example, some apps require an agency to purchase software and equipment designed to interface with that app.  Additionally, some applications only work in certain geographic locations and might only be available to first responders.  Please be sure to verify that the app you are interested in is available in your area.

One of the main benefits of AppComm is that it provides a forum to communicate ideas for new apps.  If you have a suggestion for a public safety app not listed, be sure to submit your idea to AppComm by clicking on the “Got an idea for a great app?” feature or sending an email to appcomm@apcointl.org.  By sharing your idea, you are helping to pave the way for innovating new tools for first responders and the general public.  With AppComm, your idea can be shared in an open dialogue among the Community including public safety professionals, first responders, the general public, and app developers to help bring your idea to fruition.

APCO does not currently vet or endorse apps.  We encourage visitors to the site to evaluate the apps by using the rating and commenting features.  At the same time, as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards development organization (SDO), APCO is in a unique position to develop the standards necessary to govern these new tools.  As a first step, on March 4, 2013, APCO filed a Project Initiation Notification to develop a standard for Application Integration with Public Safety Communication Centers and Public Safety Responders.  APCO will continue to lead the way in fostering the development of appropriate standards and criteria for public safety apps.

Open government data typically refers to public data collected by federal, state, or local governments that is freely available to the public as a resource.  Many government agencies publish datasets online to increase transparency and facilitate the creation of new tools and analyses.  Open government data sources can support and improve public safety app development.

We will continually maintain and build upon the listing of public safety apps which will serve as a resource for developers and practitioners.  We expect that AppComm will be a continually growing resource that brings together developers, public safety practitioners, and the general public to speed the development of new app ideas that best meet the needs of the public safety community.