National Public Safety Service Now Used by More than 1,000 Communities Helps Reduce Response Times,
Provide Peace of Mind and Save Lives
February 18, 2015 – The smell of smoke in your house, an accident while out running routine errands, frantically looking for your child when they don’t return home on time or a medical condition displaying signs of an episode. These are all reasons you dial 9-1-1 for help, but when you do, will the dispatcher know who you are and have the information they need to assist you? Last year, across the country, many dispatchers had this information thanks to Smart911, the national public safety service that allows citizens to create a free Safety Profile with information on their household that is immediately available to dispatchers when a 9-1-1 call is made.
In 2014, Smart911 was announced in 39 new locations across 17 U.S. states, making the private and secure service available to an additional 5 million citizens in their hometown, bringing the total coverage area to over 1,000 communities across 38 states. Public safety agencies in these locations are continually encouraging their residents to take a few minutes and visit www.smart911.com to create their free Safety Profile, something that can save valuable time in the event of an emergency.
Every month, thousands of calls come into these Smart911 supported 9-1-1 centers with a Safety Profile attached, providing valuable details about the caller, their home and family, enabling emergency responders to arrive more quickly and better prepared. In one incident in Traverse City, Mich., the time saved by the Safety Profile saved a man’s life.
“I remember taking a nap, and waking up to a face full of flame, and that’s about all I remember,” stated Dan Hoffman, recounting his experience dialing 9-1-1 while his house was engulfed in flames. “Smart911 cut 11 minutes off of the response time and saved me, saved my life, every day I’m here is a blessing.”
Hoffman dialed 9-1-1 from his mobile phone but dispatchers were unable to trace his location accurately. His Smart911 Safety Profile included a home address, which is where response teams were sent, finding smoke billowing from the house. Chief Randy Rittenhouse of the Peninsula Township Fire Department was one of the first responders on scene, found Hoffman face down on his living room floor, and pulled him to safety before extinguishing the fire.
“Before Smart911 it would have taken Central [dispatch] a lot longer time, time that Mr. Hoffman did not have,” Chief Rittenhouse noted as he spoke to community members about the incident. “Because we have Smart911, there was no guessing where the call came from.”
Other incidents where a Safety Profile provided details that facilitated emergency response included:
- Medical Emergency: In Terrebonne Parish, La., a dispatcher received a call from a frantic citizen who found her roommate unconscious and dialed 9-1-1 from his cell phone. While the caller was unaware of the roommate’s specific medical notes, they were included in his Safety Profile. The dispatcher was able to relay details of his diabetic condition to EMS, who arrived on-scene prepared to deliver necessary assistance.
- Domestic Incident: In DuPage County, Ill., a dispatcher received a hang-up call from a citizen, something that has become common with the increased use of mobile phones. While call back attempts proved unsuccessful, the caller’s Smart911 profile displayed on the screen and offered information about the woman’s son, who has cognitive disabilities and is prone to altercations. The dispatcher was able to send police to the home address with these details, ensuring the safety of the officers and family members as they de-escalated the domestic situation.
- Child Caller: In Owensboro, Ky., a dispatcher received a common call; a child had dialed 9-1-1 from his mother’s cell phone but was not speaking. While the frequency of these calls is increasing, and often times made by mistake, public safety is required to use their resources to investigate, often sending an officer to the scene. In this case, the family’s Safety Profile displayed and the dispatcher was able to use the information, including the child’s name and his mother’s, to determine the call was accidental, saving valuable time and resources.
Teresa Cooper signed up for Smart911 feeling it was a good idea for her family but soon experienced how it can help in an unexpected but not uncommon incident. Caught in a snowstorm, the Kentucky resident’s vehicle became stranded on the side of a busy road, making her fearful other motorists may not see her. She dialed 9-1-1 from her mobile phone, but poor signal made it impossible for the dispatcher to hear her.
“I could hear him, but he couldn’t hear me,” recounted Cooper, whose Safety Profile provided not only her name but information on her vehicle, which helped responders who were dispatched to the general area via cell phone location to find her. “I never really thought I would end up in a situation where I would need to call 9-1-1. And then to not be able to tell them anything because of my phone signal, I felt helpless. I am so glad we signed up for Smart911, it was the reason I got help so quickly.”
These situations, among many others, are just a few reasons why more communities are providing Smart911 to their residents. In Springdale, Ark., where Smart911 is available statewide, Police Lt. Hudson encouraged residents to sign up: “People need to realize that, hopefully it never happens to them, but if it does, those few minutes are worth it.” Tempe, Ariz. Police Communication Manager, Patrick Cutts, told residents: “It’s designed to help us help you.” And in Nassau County, N.Y., County Commissioner Thomas Krumpter simply said, “This system will save lives.”
Smart911 continues to expand as new locations are announced each month, and citizens across the country are encouraged to sign up for free at www.smart911.com . From Washington D.C. to Nashville, Atlanta to Seattle, more communities are seeing concise communication, reduced response times and more happy outcomes every day, thanks to Smart911. While it may not be available in every community yet, Smart911 is a national service and anytime a citizens dials 9-1-1 in a location that is supported by Smart911, their profile will be available to dispatcher’s to aid in response.
Source: PR Newswire
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