9-1-1 Dispatcher Uses Smart911 To Locate Local Man Trapped in Snow


Michigan Dispatcher Honored with SmartSave Award by Smart911 in Recognition of Efforts to Effectively Dispatch Proper Response Teams to Citizen in Need


(l-r Director Jim Valentine, Smart Save Recipient John Wiechenthal and Operations Supervisor Steve VanHolstyn) 

A telecommunicator with Michigan’s Ionia County Central Dispatch (ICCD) was recognized for outstanding efforts to aid a citizen in need using Smart911, the County’s 9-1-1 service aimed at improving emergency response. ICCD Director Jim Valentine presented Dispatcher John Wiechenthal with a SmartSave Award from Smart911 which honors and rewards call-takers, dispatchers and emergency responders who are able to effectively use the national public safety service to positively affect the outcome of an emergency.

On January 25, Wiechenthal received an open-air 9-1-1 call from a mobile phone, meaning there was no response from the caller. Wiechenthal used GPS coordinates to find an approximate location of the caller in Portland, Mich., and conducted a phone number search on Facebook which provided the citizen’s name, a photo of their vehicle and a status update that indicated they may be in trouble. After dispatching police to the approximate location with the citizen’s name and vehicle details, Wiechenthal used Smart911 to send a text message to the caller. Even though the caller had not yet signed up for Smart911, the texting component of the system was available and Wiechenthal was able to communicate with the citizen, determine an exact location and learn that their car was stuck in the snow. Police were then directed to the location to provide assistance.

“It can be difficult to determine the situation on an open-air call,” stated ICCD Dispatcher, John Wiechenthal. “In some cases it is an accidental dial, but in each case we have to use every tool available to us to determine if there is an emergency. Because Smart911 provided an alternate form of communication through texting, I was able to learn that there was a citizen in need, and where he was located, in order to dispatch help.”

“We implemented Smart911 in Ionia County just a few months ago knowing it would benefit all of our citizens, as well as help our dispatchers provide more effective and efficient assistance,” said Jim Valentine, director of ICCD.  “It was fortunate that Smart911 provided assistance even without the citizen signing up for the service, but had he created a Smart911 Safety Profile prior to the emergency, we would have known his name and vehicle instantly when he called instead of having to search for it.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call-taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. With Smart911, responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously: fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions, police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than hours and more.

Introduced nearly three years ago by Rave Mobile Safety, the most trusted software partner for campus and public safety, Smart911 has been adopted in parts of nearly every state and now protects more than 450 municipalities. It has been credited with helping 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers save lives nationwide.

Residents are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1. Smart911 data is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses and available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.



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