TEXARKANA, Ark., — Time is precious when calling 9-1-1. And considering that no one ever plans to call it in the first place, wouldn’t you rather the 9-1-1-operator already know all about you if you did have to make that call?
The Miller County Sheriff’s Office has a free service called Smart911 that allows citizens to create a safety profile for their household – before it is needed – that includes any information people want 9-1-1 operators to have in the event of an emergency. And, it’s completely confidential, said Miller County Sheriff Ron Stovall.
“This is a very valuable tool and we’re pleased to offer it,” he said. “If you’re signed up, there’s so much information that’s garnered instantly.”
The system could be helpful by providing information to the dispatcher, such as directions to a person’s home. It can receive text messages in the event a person is unable to speak. It can also include information about medical issues, emergency contacts and so much more.
Smart911 improves the quality and quantity of information available to 9-1-1 call takers. It helps people who answer 9-1-1 calls make faster and better decisions, shortens response times, and helps save lives. If you consider the amount of time it takes to provide information to the 9-1-1 dispatcher, especially if the caller is calling from a cell phone that doesn’t provide a home location, in a person is in a panicked state, is forgetful or unintelligible, the time saved by having Smart911 in getting help to you is tremendous.
Using a secure web site, https://www.smart911.com/ people simply enter any and all information they want to give to 9-1-1 dispatchers in the event a call to 9-1-1 is ever made. Information you provide may include:
- Family member data
- Medical conditions
- Medications you take
- Disabilities or movement limitations
- Exact location of your home or directions to your home
- Informing officers you have pets in case of a fire, or listing your pet’s chip code in case it gets lost in the confusion of emergency personnel coming in and out of your home
- Gate code to enter your community or home alarm code
Registration for Smart911 is free and each person has complete control over what is entered and available to 9-1-1. All information is associated with the phone number(s) in the registration and is only shown when a 9-1-1 call is made.
When a person calls 9-1-1 from a registered phone number, that data automatically displays on the call taker’s work station. It can also be made available to police, fire, and emergency medical services in the field to help them respond more quickly and effectively.
Asked how many people in Miller County participate in the program, the sheriff said he didn’t know. That’s because the program is so private that even his department has no access to those numbers. Smart911 is so confidential that the only people who have access to personal information in the program are the people who answer 9-1-1 calls, he said.
Smart911 has several protocols in place to ensure that information within your safety profile is current and accurate. Each phone number within your profile must be validated. Once you enter your phone number you can choose whether you want to receive a phone call or text message in order to confirm your phone. If you receive an automated call you will be asked to press “1″ to confirm. If you receive a text message, you will be given a 4 digit code to be entered into your profile to confirm.
But what if a person moves or change telephone numbers? Well, Smart911 requires that each profile must be confirmed or updated every 6 months to ensure that current and accurate information is being provided to 9-1-1. This updating can be done by simply logging into the account online. Profiles receive reminder messages from Smart911 if they are approaching the six-month mark.