The Smart911 System Also Allows Dispatchers to Text a Caller Who May Not Be Able to Speak When He or She Dials 9-1-1.
The city of Elk Grove is implementing a new user-generated 911 program that allows residents to enter medical information that dispatchers would have access to in the case of an emergency.
"We’re able to see allergies, we’re able to see who is registered to that phone, (along with) vehicles, locations, etc." said Jamie Hudson, an emergency dispatcher for Elk Grove.
The program is called Smart911 and Elk Grove is the first city in Northern California to have the system. Residents can register through the Elk Grove Police Department's website.
Once registered, residents can enter as much or as little information as they want. More details are always more helpful, Hudson said.
"It’s one more step that may get the right assistance to the person who is calling, quicker," she said.
The system can really help, Hudson said, if residents enter information on aspects such as medical conditions, allergies, special needs or other conditions that can help first-responders in an emergency.
The system also allows 911 dispatchers to text a caller who may not be able to speak when he or she dials 911.
Users also can choose to enter information such as pictures of family members, house addresses, makes and models of cars, multiple cellphones numbers and emergency contacts.
The data can save precious minutes for paramedics -- and in some cases, such as a missing persons report, it can save hours.
"We’re able to quickly access that photo and reduce the time the officers have to spend searching for an updated photo and getting that information out to the public," said Officer Chris Trim, a spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.
But dispatchers said the most helpful part of the Smart911 system is that in an emergency, many people don't relay accurate medical information because of the stressful situation.
But with Smart911, the data already is at dispatchers' fingertips -- and they don’t have to spend time trying to get it from a 911 caller.
"If it is a medical condition and the caller can’t speak, then were are going to have some information that we can transfer over to the fire department," Hudson said.
The information people enter is protected. Dispatchers only have access to it for a brief time during and after the 911 call.