AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Amazon hosts Tech to Protect Hackathon in Seattle to introduce cloud technology for firefighters

Amazon hosts Tech to Protect Hackathon in Seattle to introduce cloud technology for firefighters

Participants of the Tech to Protect Challenge in Seattle, a hackathon to introduce cloud technology for firefighters.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted first responders from fire chiefs to law enforcement to identify solutions to address gaps in communication technology and ensure emergency information is dispersed consistently and quickly. The Tech to Protect Challenge, implemented by the Redflash Group and SecondMuse under contract with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division, connected public safety agencies and first responders with technologists and coders that help them work backwards to solve common challenges. The program helps emergency responders save lives through improved communications and awareness by advancing and expanding technology access.

“The Tech to Protect Challenge seeks to drive innovation in public safety communications. Collaborating with technology leaders like AWS helps achieve that goal,” said George Rice, Partner at RedFlash Group. “Their expertise is valuable to fostering progressive and dependable tools for emergency responders in order to support their mission of serving and protecting communities nationwide.”

The event identified police, fire, rescue, and 9-1-1 communication applications solutions for placing deployable networks in emergencies, protecting proactive images, calming catastrophe by tracking patient triage, mapping LTE capabilities to save lives, and delivering mission-critical communications.

During the Tech to Protect Challenge, 10 three-day hackathons were held that awarded over $200,000 in prizes from the NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR). Each of the events cultivated collaboration with startups, entrepreneurs, students, and technologists to create communication tools for law enforcement, emergency services personnel, and firefighters in a community setting.

“Emergency responders, including EMS, firefighters, and law enforcement, operate in uniquely challenging environments,” said Dereck Orr, Division Chief of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division. “NIST is proud to be a part of this initiative and invites creative minds to collaboratively address these communication needs with innovative technology for the future.”

Whether law enforcement, fire, emergency management, corrections, or courts, AWS helps public safety agencies address their biggest challenges using technology. Working with technologists through activities like the Tech to Protect Challenge enables agencies to build, test, and validate potentially lifesaving applications with more flexibility and without the upfront capital expense of on-premises data storage.

“It’s inspiring to see how motivated participants are to help advance the dedicated work of emergency responders and we welcome them to continue to be a part of the program’s success,” stated Orr.

Entries for the Tech to Protect Challenge closed in mid-November. Finalists will be announced at the NIST PCSR National Award Event in spring 2020, and will be awarded up to $1,850,000 in cash prizes.

Learn more about AWS justice and public safety and read more about other AWS public sector hackathons.