9-1-1 Dispatchers Given New Tools by Douglas County Commission


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In an emergency, every second counts and the time it takes 911 dispatchers to get all of the information needed to respond can mean life or death. Thanks to a new program that information can now be shared instantly.

On Wednesday, county commissioners approved funding for Smart911, a service that allows people to enter their personal information into a secure website. That information can then be shared between police, firefighters or medical personnel responding to a 911 call.

“By the time the officers are there and they’re making their approach or the firefighters or medics are making their approach to the scene it’s too late to let them know, ‘Hey, by the way, this, this and this is an issue at that address,’” said Scott Ruff.  “It allows us to share information in real time.”

Say, for instance, your house is on fire. If you call 911 from the number registered to your Smart911 account, dispatchers can pull up all the information you provided about your home and family – how many rooms there are, how many pets you own, if someone has a disability or is allergic to a certain type of medication. Scott Ruff says the program puts all of the technological advances of information sharing to good use.

“It just helps us clarify and work our way through the information and better assess it,” he said. “Often times in a time of crisis you may not be in a position to share the information.”

Commissioners applauded the program for the benefit it could have for people in rural Douglas County.  “The mapping that can be provided would be very helpful for law enforcement,” said Jim Flory. “It’d be very helpful for the person that’s in distress out in the rural areas.”

Smart911 is strictly voluntary and personal information will not be shared with third parties.

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