Updated Feb 18, 2020

Beacon Emergency Dispatch Platform

Text message-based emergency medical dispatching for resource-limited settings and austere environments ("911 where there is none")


Jason Friesen

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Stage 5: Scaling

Beacon is now being used to alert and coordinate local emergency response networks in 14 countries, supporting programs from rural fire departments to national ambulance services.
Registered in United States as Non-Profitin United States as Non-Profit

Focus Areas:

Health, Disaster Risk Reduction, Response Technologies and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Health, Disaster Risk Reduction, Response Technologies, Community Transport Models, Communication with Communities and GIS/MappingSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Argentina and 8 MoreSEE ALL

Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, United States, Guatemala, Malawi, Haiti and EcuadorSEE LESS

Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding


Despite the rapid global proliferation of mobile phone connectivity, nearly 80% of the world's population can't call for emergency help when needed. And even if they can, local emergency response networks are hindered by having adequate communications solutions to alert, coordinate and track response activities. Further compounding the problem is the fact that legacy emergency communications solutions are inappropriate and/or too expensive for all but the most advanced response services.



We developed Beacon, a text message-based emergency dispatch platform designed specifically for resource-limited settings that makes it possible to alert, coordinate and monitor emergency response networks anywhere there’s a mobile phone signal — with or without internet. Beacon works as a wireless emergency alert system and automates the dispatching process by guiding the nearest available emergency care providers to quickly locate, treat, and transport emergency victims.

Target Beneficiaries

- Formal emergency responders (firefighters, EMTs, paramedics) in resource-limited settings - NGOs responsible for emergency care and transport - Disaster response agencies and organizations - Ministries of Health - Community groups

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to reduce premature death and disability from preventable emergency conditions by improving access to emergency care and transport, irrespective of socio-economic status. Our vision is that emergency response groups with active operations that implement our solution can ensure that 90% of callers requesting emergency assistance in covered communities will be attended to by trained responders within 10 minutes in population centers, and within 30 minutes in rural communities.

Innovation Description

Beacon is a text message-based emergency dispatching platform designed specifically for communities where advanced "911" dispatching technologies are inappropriate or unaffordable. Beacon works by relaying requests for emergency assistance from the scene of an emergency via text message to nearby trained community responders, and then provides end-to-end resource coordination in order to ensure patients are located quickly, stabilized, and transported to appropriate facilities. With the new release of Beacon v4.0, emergency response groups are now able to design, test, and launch their own emergency communications systems on their own in less than 30 minutes, anywhere there’s a mobile phone signal, ultimately enabling more robust participation from local responders and volunteers during emergency events and in austere environments.

Competitive Advantage

Do-It-Yourself -- Design, test, launch and be ready to scale your own communications platform in less than 30 minutes
Editable Maps -- Use editing tools to give responders real-time map updates through the Beacon mobile app
GPS Tracking -- Know where emergency crews are and what they’re up to with GPS tracking
Mixed Dispatching -- Assign specific response units to an incident and/or crowdsource the closest responders
SMS Compatiblity -- Works on any mobile phone, using push notifications when Internet’s available and SMS alerts when it isn’t
Real-Time Reports -- Real-time performance reports for individual responders, incidents, and aggregate performance
Destination Tracking -- Add local destination facilities, whether hospitals or evacuation shelters

Planned Goals and Milestones

There are three way we're working to expand the use of Beacon:
  1. Expand the coverage and number of responders in existing programs
  2. Attract new partners to our platform
  3. Seek out turn-key ready partners for “over-the-top” implementation
Funding Goal1,250,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted2,000,000,000
New FeatureGroup chat messaging; custom call codes


Dec 2019
New Country Implemented In
Aug 2019
New Country Implemented In
Aug 2019
Apr 2015
New Country Implemented In
Dominican Republic
Oct 2014
Funds RaisedPENDING
TITLEBeacon v2.0 development and implementation
Implemented InDominican Republic and Tanzania
Jan 2013

Supporting Materials