Give info to help Michigan 911 dispatchers help you

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New software is helping first responders in Michigan get to you faster.

Berrien County is now using a tool called Smart 911. The program is spreading throughout Michigan. St. Joseph County, Michigan already has it and Cass County is reportedly preparing to activate it.

Counties across the country use the system. Last year, Michigan started providing grants to counties to use it.

"The 911 system itself works pretty well, but that's just another enhancement that people can do to help improve the response,” says Dave Agens, Berrien County 911 director

With Smart 911, when dispatchers answer a call, a window pops up telling them details about the caller.

But your information will only pop up if you register. It's free to sign up on smart911.com. Once you create an account, you can put in info such as emergency contacts, preferred providers and a list of pets you live with. You can also add details about how to best get to your house or apartment -- kind of like you do when ordering a pizza.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the extra information will make their job a little easier.

"Sometimes when you are in a hurry to render aid or to help someone in need and you don't have the proper information, it just adds stress to the situation," says Lt. Steven Campbell.

Officials say the program works better the more people sign up but understand some may be worried about giving away personal information.

"Go in and look at it, and make up your own mind and see if it's really going to be beneficial for you,” says Agens. “In some cases it may not be, but others there might be some things you want us to know.”

“People have tons of applications on their phone already -- Facebook and different things -- and there's a lot of information on the web,” says Campbell. “This is another one. It's secured, and I personally will put my information on there as well."

The grant for Berrien County to use the system lasts for 18 months. At that point the county will evaluate the program's success.

Anyone can register -- even if you don't live in the county. Your information will pop at any dispatch center in the country that uses the system.

Again, that link is https://smart911.com/

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