The city of Chamblee has joined Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and the city of Atlanta in offering Smart911, a potentially life-saving feature for 9-1-1 callers.
Smart911 is a free service for citizens to go online and register a profile that becomes available only if that person makes an emergency call. Citizens can add as much or as little information as they want to the profile, from posting pictures of family members, listing critical conditions, disabilities, allergies, medications, special needs or other information that could prove vital in saving time and lives. It is much more information than a dispatcher can take over the phone, but allows emergency personnel to arrive at the scene better prepared, saving precious time and effort.
“The real key is everybody should go into the data base and sign up,” said Chamblee Police Chief Marc Johnson who adds that just having a good address for cell phones and other family contact numbers will help the 911 call center dispatch emergency personnel to the right address if a caller hangs up or is in distress.
For police, the Smart911 system means that if a child is missing, a picture can be sent out immediately, or ig someone has a severe allergy, even if they can’t talk, the EMT’s can arrive with an EpiPen in hand. For families with members who have autism, epilepsy, heart conditions, hearing impairments, asthma or even speak another language, that critical information, available instantly, will allow the first responders to come prepared, and not waste time gathering that information.
“If a child is missing or there is an invalid in the house, time is of the essence. For example, this will help firefighters make sure everyone is out of the house, including the family dog,” added Johnson.
Chatt Comm, which services Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and most recently Dunwoody was the first agency in the metro area to offer the service. The city of Atlanta signed up in December, with Alpharetta and Chamblee coming online by the end of January.
“We jumped at the chance to add it,” said Chief Johnson who encourages all citizens to register at the company’s website, www.Smart911.com as it is a nationwide service available in cities across the country. The service is free to residents and is paid for by the participating agencies.
To ensure privacy, Smart911 keeps all information confidential, on its own servers, and does not sell or release the data. Only 911 dispatchers see the profile if the person calls in, and then the information is available for only 45 minutes. Police or fire departments cannot access it on their own and citizens are advised to update their profiles every six months to make sure the information is current.