Lt. Governor Brian Calley is a guest blogger and originally posted here.
Imagine an emergency situation where you need help urgently. Wouldn’t you want 911 operators to have as much information as possible to help rescue you?
Our 911 operators all across Michigan do amazing work but the added use of cell phones instead of land lines sometimes makes it more difficult to pinpoint someone’s location in an emergency. In a situation where every minute counts, enhancing our 911 systems can save lives and the state of Michigan is taking action to give our communities resources to do that.
LG Calley was in Mt. Clemens today announcing the availability of Smart 911 service to all dispatch centers across Michigan for a year. Enhanced 911 was a recommendation of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which Calley chaired, with the initial goal of helping dispatchers know about mental health or disability issues in an emergency. Smart 911 services are available thanks to $2.2 million in funding that is within the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
Smart911 allows dispatchers to see a safety profile when a resident calls 911. These voluntary and free profiles can include anything from pictures of family members, to a residential address, to any existing medical conditions to be aware of. Individuals get to choose how much they want to include on their profile, and the information is only available to dispatchers and first responders when a 9–1–1 call is made. Smart 911 also has a feature that allows dispatchers to initiate text conversations with anyone who calls 9–1–1 from a mobile phone.
There are 144 dispatch centers in Michigan and 32 of them already implement this valuable addition to their 911 service. Under the funding LG Calley announced today, the remaining centers will now have the ability to try out Smart 911 for the year with the state covering the cost.
“In emergency situations, every minute counts and enhancing 911 services across our state is essential to protecting the lives of Michiganders,” Calley said.
That’s exactly what happened to Dan Hoffman of Traverse City who spoke at Monday’s event. Dan called 911 after waking up from a nap in a room engulfed in flames. Dan called 911 but couldn’t speak due to the smoke. Dispatchers were struggling to find his home through traditional methods, but his wife had filled out a Smart 911 profile and dispatchers were able to send out first responders directly to his home address on the profile. Without Smart 911, Dan may not have made it out of his home alive.
As Americans, we are lucky to live in a country where help for those in dire need is just a phone call away. As Michiganders, we are lucky to live in a state where there is room for the growth of a statewide enhanced 9–1–1 system. At its core, Smart911 provides hope. Because of this service, there will be less risk to the first responders who have dedicated their lives to helping the rest of us. Because of this service, there will be even more people all across the state who are saved.
For more information visit www.smart911.com.