With the new Smart911 system, which is already used in 39 other states, residents who are registered with the service call 911 and their profiles appear to dispatchers. That information can then be passed on to officers or agencies responding to emergencies.
Honolulu Police Department officials are touting the launch of a service that can help first responders handle emergencies quicker and more efficiently.
The national service, Smart911, allows residents to create an online profile and input details, such as photos, addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts, vehicle and pet information, allergies, medications and medical conditions. When residents who are registered with the service call 911, their profiles appear to dispatchers. That information can then be passed on to officers or other public-safety agencies responding to emergencies.
“We all know that faster response means more lives saved,” HPD Chief Louis Kealoha said at a news conference Wednesday. “While the service is new to Honolulu, it’s a proven program that has worked for many mainland cities. It’s our hope and the hope of every agency … that Smart911 will make it easier, faster for the first responders during an emergency.”
HPD’s one-year pilot program costs $74,000 and was funded through a grant. The department is the first in the state to implement the service.
Smart911 is used in 39 other states and in more than 1,800 communities, said Jessica Rose of Massachusetts-based Rave Mobile Safety, which developed the software.
Rose added that the online database “is completely private and secure” and that information is viewed only by users who are updating their profiles and by first responders and dispatchers during an emergency. She said the service helped save a man in Michigan whose house was on fire. While crawling out of his house, the man called 911 but dispatchers were able to hear only coughing. His wife had registered with Smart911, saving first responders about 11 minutes in finding his location, Rose said.
“You’re answering a dispatcher’s questions before that emergency happens,” Rose said Wednesday. “They (users) have the ability to only put (in the database) whatever information they feel is pertinent to their household.”
About 70 to 80 percent of 911 calls are made from mobile phones, which provide the caller’s number and general location, said HPD acting Maj. Allan Nagata. Smart911 could help officers more quickly find the location of an emergency, he said.
“Frequently our officers arrive on-scene not knowing anything about the person in need or even their medical background,” Nagata said Wednesday at the news conference, adding that information about allergies and medical conditions is important when helping an individual found unconscious or unable to communicate with dispatchers or first responders.
“When the caller is frantic or it is a small child who is having difficulty conversing, or the situation hinders the caller’s ability to give us accurate information, their safety profile may provide those missing details that can help us determine the appropriate response in the case of an emergency.”
To find out more information or to sign up, visit smart911.com.
“We all know that faster response means more lives saved. While the service is new to Honolulu, it’s a proven program that has worked for many mainland cities.”
- Louis Kealoha