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County launches Smart911 service
Voluntary, user-entered safety profiles can provide critical information to 911 centers and emergency responders when help is needed.
In an emergency, seconds count. Making sure 911 call-takers and emergency responders have all the information they need can mean the difference between life and death. To assist in this critical task, King County is launching “Smart911,” a supplemental data service that allows residents to create a personal safety profile in a secure database. That information can then be used to assist 911 call-takers and responders in the field.
“With this new tool, 911 call-takers can locate callers and send help to the right place more efficiently,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It’s especially effective for users of cell phones, whose locations cannot be pinpointed as they can with landlines.”
Smart911 is free to every resident of King County, and registration is voluntary. To create a safety profile, users go to a secure website, www.Smart911.com. Then, they enter their phone numbers, as well as address, medical, disability or other information that could be useful to emergency personnel. When a call comes in to a 911 center from a Smart911-registered phone, the additional data is displayed at the 911 call center. The information can also be accessed by medics, firefighters and police officers responding to the emergency.
Today, about 70 percent of 911 calls are made from wireless phones. However, wireless phones only provide the general location of a caller, not their exact address. With Smart911, people can put their home, school and work addresses into the safety profile associated with their wireless phone. These addresses will assist 911 call-takers in locating callers when lives are at stake.
“Smart911 is a simple, yet effective tool to help our officers and other emergency service providers get the right people and right equipment to the right place,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. “The Sheriff’s Office responds to 330,000 calls a year, and Smart911 can help us more effectively serve the public.”
Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who chairs the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee, said, “I applaud our E-911 Program Office for pursuing new and more individualized ways to help residents in need. Smart911 is a life-saving resource, and a practical way for all of us to build a safer community.”