Communication between first responders is vital in an emergency, but sometimes there can be gaps in the network. However, a new mobile app developed by Raytheon may allow responders to avoid any delays and help save lives.

The program, part of Raytheon's Interoperability Communications Suite, allows first responders to use their smartphones to talk to each other rather than using mobile radios, which can sometimes be unreliable. The app can come in handy in a number of situations, such as letting firefighters talk to building engineers who can give them a layout of a burning structure.

"These devices essentially become 'virtual radios' with the new application and greatly reduce communications gaps for first responders," said TJ Kennedy, director of Public Safety and Security for Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems. "It also allows personnel to reach back to their home network from anywhere in the world that they have PC, tablet or smartphone access."

The development of this app underscores the growing importance of communication among emergency personnel. Most recently, Congress authorized the allocation of $7 billion for the creation of a nationwide network.