Montgomery County will be the first in Texas to adopt Smart911, a service that provides medical, family member and location information directly to first responders when a registered individual calls 911 so that an emergency response can arrive more quickly.
Smart911, provided by Rave Mobile Safety, is already available to Montgomery County residents, although a formal launch is not planned until early July, said Chip VanSteenberg, executive director of the Montgomery County Emergency Communication District.
VanSteenberg presented the emergency communication updates across the county throughout April and May. He said 155 Smart911 profiles had already been created in Montgomery County as of May 24.
When an individual creates a profile at Smart911.com, information regarding the individual’s addresses, family members and medical history is stored in a secure database for call takers to access when the individual calls 911. VanSteenberg said with Smart911, call takers will know more information about the caller to make the response quicker.
“We believe it will save time and make for a more efficient response when in an emergency,” VanSteenberg said.
Additionally, call takers can initiate a text message session if there is a bad connection.
The MCECD has also adopted Smart911Facility, a similar service designed for businesses, schools and other large facilities to protect employees and visitors. If an individual calls 911 from within a registered facility, first responders are able to look at information about the facility before they arrive.
Although Smart911 is a national service, it is not yet transferable between areas using a different service provider like Harris County. VanSteenberg said he suggests people who live in one county and work in another set up a profile for both 911 response services. Harris County’s service is available at 911.org.
Texting a 911 call taker is expected to be an option for Montgomery County residents soon. VanSteenberg said call takers should be able to receive emergency text messages by early 2017. Harris County already has the texting capability.
VanSteenberg said although calling 911 is preferred, texting can be helpful in some situations where an individual cannot hear or speak.
“Call if you can, text if you can’t,” he said.