Nationwide Coding Challenge to Assist Emergency Responders in Serving and Protecting Communities Nationwide

September is National Preparedness Month, and this year innovation for first responders is on the forefront. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), is collaborating with the DOC National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) on the Tech to Protect Challenge, a groundbreaking coding project. This national innovative challenge introduces coding contests designed to foster communications technology solutions that will aid emergency responders in serving and protecting communities nationwide. Participants will compete for cash prizes from a pool of $2.2 million.

With a series of 10 regional code-a-thon events in-person coding events and an online contest, the Tech to Protect Challenge encourages widespread participation from a diverse community of innovators: students, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, technologists, programmers, software developers and more. Public safety experts are also needed. Tech to Protect invites public safety personnel to participate by submitting their own solutions to the coding contests or serving as a knowledge resource for participants or a reviewer of participant solutions at code-a-thons near them.

Tech to Protect is gearing up for two rounds of in-person code-a-thons, with the first round taking place from September 27-29 in:

  • Chicago,
  • College Station, Texas,
  • Denver,
  • Pittsburgh and
  • Washington D.C.

A second round of code-a-thons will be held November 1-3 in:

  • Los Angeles,
  • Miami,
  • New York City,
  • San Francisco and
  • Seattle.

For more information about Tech-to-Protect challenge and how to participate visit: or email

For more information on the FirstNet Authority’s public safety programs visit

FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Authorized by Congress in 2012, its mission is to develop, build and operate the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.

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