A new 911 service has been implemented in Kosciusko County and it is one aimed at better serving the public.
Kosciusko County is one of the three counties in the state, as of July 31, to implement Smart911, a program designed to help citizens be proactive and prepared in the event of an emergency.
Smart911 is a free service, sponsored by local municipalities and 911 call centers. It’s an effort to save time in responding to emergencies. Call centers and first responders will immediately have information about the caller who has filled out a safety profile through Smart911.
Even if a person is unable to speak or communicate, 911 centers will be able to ping the phone’s location and send out emergency responders, according to David Rosenberry, 911 director with Kosciusko 911 Communications.
Filling out the free profile on the Smart911 website allows 911 dispatchers to associate household information to those who register for either themselves or their families.
“It’s free and only takes a couple of minutes,” Rosenberry said.
He said the most important reason to use Smart911 is because of the medical information that is provided to 911 dispatchers.
Rosenberry said the new service does not replace the old 911 system, but simply enhances it.
“At a time when more and more people are relying on cellphones to communicate, which may only provide limited information on a 911 call,” Rosenberry said, adding, “It’s critical that we can effectively utilize available technology to better respond to those individuals. Smart911 does this by automatically displaying the caller’s safety profile to the 911 dispatcher.”
Rosenberry stresses everyone stills gets 911 service no matter if they sign up for Smart 911 or not. “This is supplemental information for us,” he stated, adding, “to better serve the public.”
The personal accounts can include photos of family members, medical history, house information, pets, vehicles and emergency contacts. All provided information is stored securely by Smart911, and is only available to 911 dispatchers when a call is made from a number associated with the safety profile.
All phone numbers connected to a residence can be entered into the database. This can include a husband, wife or children’s land line, cellphone or any other number people may have. Work information can also be attached.
In order to stay current, all accounts must be validated every six months. If the information is not updated by that time, the information will still exist, but it is not active, Rosenberry said.
“If you don’t update every six months, it (the information) gets redacted,” he said. To make it active again, simply sign in again on the Smart911 website.
The Smart911 service has been adopted in 35 states and more than 500 municipalities. Porter County and Vigo County in Indiana are the only counties, in addition to Kosciusko County, to have Smart911 available.
If any groups would like Rosenberry to give a presentation on the new service, call him at (574) 267-5667. To sign up for Smart 911, visit www.smart911.com.