King County residents can soon upload personal information into a data service to assist 911 dispatchers and emergency responders.
The program, called Smart911, is a supplemental data service designed to allow residents to create personal safety profiles in a secure database. The information is meant to help crews find callers and assist in emergencies.
“With this new tool, 911 call-takers can locate callers and send help to the right place more efficiently,”King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “It’s especially effective for users of cellphones, whose locations cannot be pinpointed as they can with landlines.”
Smart911 is free for King County residents, and registration is voluntary.
Users can create a safety profile at www.smart911.com by entering phone numbers and addresses, plus medical, disability or other information to aid emergency personnel. When a call comes in to a 911 center from a Smart911-registered phone, the additional data is displayed at the 911 call center. The information can also be accessed by medics, firefighters and police officers responding to emergencies.
Overall, about 70 percent of 911 originate from wireless phones. But wireless phones only provide the caller’s general location, not the exact address. Using Smart911, people can put home, school and work addresses into the safety profile associated with a wireless phone. The addresses can then assist 911 dispatchers in locating callers.
“Smart911 is a simple, yet effective tool to help our officers and other emergency service providers get the right people and right equipment to the right place,” King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said in a statement. “The sheriff’s office responds to 330,000 calls a year, and Smart911 can help us more effectively serve the public.”
King County is the first jurisdiction in Washington to implement Smart911. Countywide, all 911 centers across the county should be operational by year end.
“I applaud our E-911 Program Office for pursuing new and more individualized ways to help residents in need,” King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah representative and , Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman, said in a statement. “Smart911 is a lifesaving resource, and a practical way for all of us to build a safer community.”