Smart911 helps relay information to first responders
Published 3:01 pm Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time is everything when first responders are rushing to someone’s home in the case of an emergency.
That’s why Tracy Williams, director of the Dallas County Consolidated E-911 Communications Center and Captain Mike Granthum with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department are urging people to sign up for Smart911.
“When it comes to emergency services, time is critical, it’s crucial, and it cuts down time,” Granthum said. “It’s a good program. We just need more people to take advantage of it.”
Smart911 is a free program that gives dispatchers and first responders important information they need in order to respond quickly.
When a number with a Smart911 profile calls 911, the information comes up on a dispatcher’s computer screen, allowing them to relay the information to a first responder.
Williams said Dallas County has had the program for four years and was the first county in the state of Alabama to get it, but it is not being utilized like it should be. While the center answers two or three calls a month with Smart911 profiles, Williams and Granthum are hoping more people will sign up for it.
“We’ve looked it and gone over it, and we realized people aren’t utilizing it like they should, and we want to get it out there,” Granthum said. “A lot of don’t know anything about it, and we want people to be aware of it.”
Williams said signing up for the program is free and easy.
“When you sign on to smart911.com, the program literally walks you through it,” Williams said.
“It’s a profile that you go in and put information in. In that profile, when you dial 911 from a phone number that you put in, your cell phone, your house phone, it will give you an option to put information in with you house.”
People can put in as much or as little information as they would like to in their profile. Williams said people can put directions to their house if they have a long driveway, a floor plan, shutoff valve locations, medical information, such as medications, information about each person in the home, pet information and much more.
“The more information you have, the faster the response can be, and the better the response can be,” Williams said. “It really is nice, especially for emergency medical people, to know about medications and stuff like that.”
Granthum said it is also useful if a child is reported missing because parents can upload a picture of their children to their Smart911 profile.
“If there is a child that’s missing, and they’re on this profile, we can go right there and get a picture, and we can get the information disseminated to other agencies, “ Granthum said. “If they didn’t have that picture with information, we’ve got to get a picture from their family.”
In this day and age, where identity theft is getting more and more common, Williams said some people are hesitant about signing up.
“Your information is 100 percent private,” he said. “Nobody can see that information but you, Smart 911 and the dispatcher when you dial because it is attached to your phone.”
The information is updated every six months to make sure nothing has changed, and each phone number in someone’s household can be linked to the profile.
To sign up, visit www.smart911.com. Anyone with questions about the program can call Williams at (334) 874-1212.