IPSWICH — You can sit at home fiddling around with Instagram on your cell phone.
You can take a picture of your cat, apply a filter (because you’re artistic), upload the picture, and Instagram can pinpoint and tell the world your street address.
But if you stood up, tripped over the cat, and broke your leg, would the 911 dispatcher be as knowledgeable about your location when you call for help from that same phone?
The answer is no.
Unlike a landline, which gives 911 your address, cell phone calls don’t provide location information.
With 70 percent of emergency requests now coming from cell phones, that is just one part of an information gap the Ipswich Police Department wants to close.
Police have done this by pairing first responders with the opt-in Smart911 system.
Making the announcement, Police Chief Paul A. Nikas said Smart911 is free and now available to all Ipswich residents and visitors.
The system allows people to sign up online to provide vital information that 911 call-takers can tap during an emergency.
And Smart911 can get in touch with you, too.
Ipswich residents and visitors — if they sign up — can receive emergency notifications by registering for alerts at smart911.com.
Those alerts can come to your phone or email address.
The platform provides valuable new tools, and the information listed in safety profiles enables a faster, more informed response, Nikas said.
“These Smart911 safety profiles can save critical time in an emergency,” said Lt. Jonathan Hubbard, Ipswich Emergency Management Director.
“The additional information provided in a Smart911 safety profile enables us to know exactly where we are going and who we are looking for.”
On the Smart911.com website, people create a safety profile for their entire household that includes any information they want 911 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency. This can include such information as preexisting medical conditions, allergies, or pets in the home.
Other information people can store includes access codes for apartment buildings. People can even upload floor plans or photos.
If you have a cell phone only, you can provide home, work, or other addresses.
When a citizen dials 911, their safety profile is automatically displayed to the 911 call taker, allowing them to send the appropriate responders to the correct location with accurate information.
“During the holidays, with family and loved ones traveling back and forth, it’s important to be prepared in the event of an emergency,” Hubbard said.
“Creating these safety profiles is a great way to ensure that you and your families are better prepared for an emergency this holiday season.”
Smart911 is currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities across the country. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes.
Nikas encouraged Ipswich residents and visitors to sign up for both alerts and a safety profile at smart911.com to receive emergency notifications and be better prepared in an emergency.
Police said alerts and safety profiles by Smart911 are private and secure and are only used for emergency incidents or responses.
Data provided is only made available to the 911 system in the event of an emergency call or a situation that warrants an emergency notification.
Article originally posted on The Local News