City Upgrades Emergency Dispatch System, Adopts Smart911 System

RAVE

MILAN -- City officials are hoping an upgraded 911 system will improve response to emergencies by providing 911 operators more information about callers.

After hearing a presentation Nov. 10 by Rave Mobile Safety based in Framingham, Mass., the City Council voted to approve adoption of the company’s Smart911 upgrade and to go forward with a 5-year license approval with the company. Fees are $3,375 per year and paid for through 911 fees received from Washtenaw and Monroe counties.While the state of Michigan is already providing funds to dispatch centers across the state for implementing a basic Smart 911 upgrade to their 911 systems, Milan will adopt an enhanced version that allows for citizen created profiles. City officials say the state’s contract makes the city eligible for a 25 percent discount in annual fees.

The program allows a person to voluntarily register his or her phone number and a profile online, providing information such as an address, specific medical conditions, pets in the home, photos of children and whatever other information the person chooses to include about his or her household.

Registration for the online program is free and the information provided is only available to the dispatcher if the call comes from the telephone number registered to Smart 911. According to the company, the information is kept on their third party database, is not searchable and is only made available during the emergency. The service is only available in those municipalities that have installed the software.

For more information on the program, go to www.smart911.com

For Milan, the city’s adoption of the Smart911 system means that its dispatch center would have the additional citizen profile information available when emergency calls come through their call center from a Smart 911 registered user, regardless of whether or not the caller is a resident, business owner or visitor and whether the call comes from a landline or mobile phone.

Annually, the Milan Police Department’s dispatch center receives around 1000 911 calls, according to a report from the department. Through September of this year, the center received 1,050 911 calls.

The added information in the Smart911 system, Mayor Michael Armitage said, can be invaluable, especially in situations in which someone is unable to communicate with dispatchers.

Armitage highlighted a recent situation in Grand Traverse County, in which a resident’s Smart911 profile may have saved his life. He said the man’s home was on fire and he dialed 911 but the call didn’t provide a good location for his home. The man wasn’t able to speak, he said, because of smoke inhalation, but luckily the man had a Smart911 profile, which provided the exact address and emergency crews were able to reach him in time.

Armitage conveyed his support for the program, saying he has already filled out a safety profile for him and his family. He said he and his son both have lethal peanut allergies and having that kind of information readily available to emergency personnel is vital.

“I am proud that, pending approval, we will be the first community in southeast Michigan to implement the program,” Mayor Michael Armitage said prior to the vote.

In Michigan, Smart 911 has been adopted in Barry, Crawford, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lapeer, Montcalm, Oakland, Oscoda, Ottawa, Shiawassee, and VanBuren counties. Although the service is not currently available in Washtenaw County or Monroe County, it is available in various locations across the United States. For a searchable database of other areas where Smart 911 is available go to: www.smart911.com/smart911/isSmart911InMyAreaForm.action

Rave Mobile Safety has been in business for about 10 years and is one of many public safety software companies offering software safety applications to communities, schools and college campuses. Currently, Eastern Michigan University uses the company’s Rave alert system to send text and email alerts to students. University of Michigan and Michigan State University use the emergency notification system software Blackboard Connect.

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