Public safety officials encourage citizens to create a Safety Profile for faster and more effective emergency response
April 13, 2015 –Public safety officials in the Polk County E911 service area that includes the communities of Alleman-Altoona-Ankeny-Bondurant-Clive-Des Moines-Elkhart-Grimes-Johnston-Mitchellville-Norwalk-Pleasant Hill-Polk City-Runnells-Urbandale-West Des Moines-Windsor Heights announced today that they have taken a step forward in public safety with the addition of Smart911, a free service now available to all citizens. Smart911 is a national service that allows citizens to create a free Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency. If that citizen needs to dial 9-1-1, their Safety Profile will immediately display on the call taker’s screen, saving seconds and even minutes in response to the emergency.
“We take great pride in providing the best available resources to enhance safety in our community,” said Polk County Supervisor and Chair of the 9-1-1 Board, Robert Brownell. “By utilizing this technology, our citizens are now able to give us the information we need to better help them during a time of great distress, when communicating even the simplest of details can be difficult.”
Citizens can visit www.smart911.com to sign up and create a free Safety Profile for their household, providing information such as the names and photos of family members, health conditions, medications, pets in the home, vehicle details and emergency contacts. All information in each profile is voluntary, and each household can determine what details are important to include, as each household is different and therefore the potential rescue needs will also vary.
“Even the simplest of details can help our officers during an emergency,” said West Des Moines Police Officer, Sgt. Brent Kock “From knowing the access points to the home, whether there is a pet we need to be aware of when approaching or entering the home or just knowing the name of the person in distress can enhance the safety of our citizens and our officers.”
With over 450,000 residents living in the area covered by the Polk County E911 Service Board and more commuting into the area every day, the three Metropolitan 9-1-1 centers receive over 240,000 9-1-1 calls in a given year. Smart911 will give 9-1-1 call takers the ability to send the appropriate response teams to the right location and with more information. Examples of situations in which Smart911 can assist include:
- If a call is made from a mobile phone, a Safety Profile can provide an address which will allow first responders a location to respond to, even if cell service is poor or the call is dropped.
- If there is a fire in the home, a Safety Profile can immediately provide details on how to gain access into the building, the number of residents and pets inside, and a floor plan detailing the location of bedrooms and nearest exits.
- During a medical emergency, a Safety Profile can deliver important details on how to treat a patient, ranging from potential allergies to medical conditions such as epilepsy or autism
- In a collision, the Safety Profile can include vehicle information, the citizen’s medical treatment restrictions and emergency contact details
“We often spend the first few minutes during an emergency gathering information and assessing the scene," said Des Moines Fire Department Inspector Brian O’Keefe. “By having this information, such as photos of family members, details of those who may need evacuation assistance and even utility shut off locations, while we are en route we can begin our on scene efforts more quickly.”
Smart911 has been adopted in 38 states and over 1,000 communities. Your Smart911 profile will work in any of these locations if you call 9-1-1. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations and saving lives across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas and a heart attack victim in Tennesee and saving lives including a man trapped in a house fire in Michigan. In Iowa, Smart911 is also available Dubuque County.
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