A service of the Bradford County Telegraph, Inc.

Alachua County to offer Smart 911

The Alachua County Sheriff’s office is offering a new technology it says will help it respond to emergency calls.

Smart911 is a free service that allows citizens to create a safety profile for their household that includes any information they want first responders to have in the event of an emergency.

Then, when anyone in that household dials 911 from a phone associated with their safety profile, their profile is immediately displayed to the 911 operator, providing additional information that can be used to facilitate the proper response to the proper location.

The sheriff’s office said in a media release that at a time when seconds count, being able to provide emergency responders with details the household they are responding to could be the difference between life and death.

The sheriff’s office said that under the program, fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, emergency medical workers can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and law enforcement can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

Smart911 is a national service and is currently available in several counties in Florida including Jackson, Hamilton, Lafayette, Union, Taylor, Gilchrist, Lake, Levy, Dixie and Collier.

Owners of smart phones may also create safety profiles under the system.  Whenever those users dial 911 on their smartphones within a Smart 911-supported area, their safety profile will be displayed to 911 operators. The sheriff’s office said that feature is an advantage to travelers and vacationers.

According to the National Emergency Number Association, in many communities, more than one-half of 911 calls come from cell phones.  Cell phone calls have given 911 systems problems, since the devices do not transmit the location of the caller, as land line enhanced 911 systems do.  In addition, some 911 calls placed near county lines are routed to the wrong call center slowing response times.

People who register with Smart 911 are not charged for the service.  The public agencies that use the system pay for it.

Some local jurisdictions that collect 911 taxes from cell phone users are using a part of that money for Smart 911.

Earlier this year, the State of Arkansas appropriated $1 million to make Smart 911 available statewide.

Comments are closed.