Layton Utah’s new Smart911 system offers safety profile service
LAYTON — A new 911 service, which allows dispatchers to see a safety profile of people trying to access emergency services, will be implemented in this community.
Police Chief Terry Keefe said the Layton Police Department will begin using Smart911, a free service to residents that allows them to create a safety profile for their household that can provide key information to dispatchers during an emergency. The service will be funded through 911 money available to the community through the state.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Keefe said of the program.
He pointed out that the profile can be especially valuable to dispatchers by pinpointing specifics of where a call is being generated. He said knowing the exact location of a call is especially difficult with cellphone transmissions and that 85 percent of emergency calls are now coming from cellphones.
Besides giving location, the profile can provide critical medical and cultural information.
For example, when a call comes into the dispatch center in a foreign language, Keefe said, the challenge is for the dispatcher to be able to connect the caller with an interpreter who speaks that language. He said most dispatchers know a little Spanish, but it can be difficult if the call comes in Thai or Laotian or a not-so-easily recognized language. Information about the language spoken in a household, he said, could be available upon generation of the call in the new program, saving time and allowing emergency responders a much quicker response.
City Manager Alex Jensen said the Smart911 also has the ability to deal with people who are hearing impaired. The caller would be able to send a text message through the new program, as part of the new services now available, he said.
Councilman Jory Francis asked Keefe how the LPD would get word out about the program, so residents can create the safety profile. Keefe said the department will create fliers for kids to take home from school and use other means to try and spread the message.
“It sounds like a no-brainer to me. The benefits outweigh the expense,” Councilman Barry Flitton said of the program.
“I wish the rest of our communications equipment cost that little. This is a good bang for the buck,” Keefe said.