Interview: Karin Marquez from RapidSOS
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Ryan Dedmon, MA
911 Training Institute
Recently, we met with Karin Marquez, ENP, CMCP, the Director of Customer Success Management at RapidSOS. She was staffing the RapidSOS booth in the Exhibit Hall at the 2019 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) national conference in Baltimore, MD. Marquez and her team were meeting with conference attendees providing demos and sharing information about RapidSOS when we had a chance to catch up with her.
911TI: Karin, tell us a little bit about you because you come from a PSAP. You come from the 9-1-1 world?
KM: I come from the 9-1-1 world. I started dispatching when I was 18-years-old. I worked in a one-man dispatch center and was all by myself learning how the life of 9-1-1 works. Then I went to a larger agency in Westminster, Colorado, where I served as a Lead Supervisor. Altogether, I spent about 22 years in the 9-1-1 center.
911TI: Thank you for your service ma’am. So tell us, how did you transition out of the PSAP into the private sector?
KM: It was an interesting opportunity. I wasn’t looking to leave, but I knew there was a challenge in 9-1-1: locations. Location is the foundation of every 9-1-1 call. When there was an opportunity at RapidSOS, I had to jump. It was an amazing feeling because it felt right. Everything I was reading at the time in my leadership materials was telling me it was the time to move. I was so excited to participate with a company like RapidSOS that took my experience and knowledge in the industry and gave me opportunity to help save lives on another great scale.
911TI: RapidSOS is an industry leader now at location accuracy. But for those who are not familiar with the company, what is RapidSOS and what are you guys doing to combat that challenge of location in 9-1-1 calls?
KM: Last year, we were really excited to announce a partnership with Apple and Google. On enabled devices (iOS 12 or higher, or Android 4.0) when someone calls 9-1-1, and only when a 9-1-1 call is initiated on that device, we receive location information from the phone into our RapidSOS Clearinghouse. We’re then able to deliver that location and updates out to the 9-1-1 center. There is a vetting process that happens there. But beyond location, we’ve been talking about NextGen911 for 20 years, but we haven’t seen too much happen with it yet. Location is the foundation, but we’re now starting to see additional data come in through our Clearinghouse. So, let’s say you use Uber and you take a ride, you may have seen the “Safety Shield” on the App. When you’re connected with that driver and you have an emergency in that vehicle, you press the 9-1-1 Assistance feature and through our Clearinghouse the 9-1-1 center will receive location and updates, caller name, phone number and vehicle color/make/model/license plate. It is life-saving information within seconds of receiving that 9-1-1 call to help empower the telecommunicator and the responders to get on-scene faster, reduce call-processing time and increase the speed of service.
911TI: That is incredible. We know that nearly 90% of 9-1-1 calls today are made from a hand-held wireless device. Callers don’t always know their exact location, especially if they are using a ridesharing App like Uber.
KM: Right! Most of us sit in the backseat of the car. We’re on our phones with our heads down. We don’t even know what kind of car we got into. We never check the license plate. Now, here’s this safety feature that is very powerful and will help save lives. We have success stories every day from agencies across the country that are utilizing this solution to help save people. It is an amazing testament to the power of that location and what it does for the telecommunicator… not only for them, but also for the citizen who is in need of help.
911TI: Thank you so much Karin.
KM: Contact our Customer Success Team. We can talk to you about how to roll out our platform and utilize it in your center and provide training. We want to help your agency, your telecommunicators, be successful so they can save lives.
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