Digital Service Provides Emergency Workers With Extra Information on 911 Calls
Photography Provided by Smart911
With the global COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world are working through ways to ensure the public safety of individuals and families. In Hamilton County, one way residents can better equip 9-1-1 and first responders with all the information they need is by creating a free account with the Smart911 national safety profile registry.
“Participants can self-identify if they are under quarantine, and whether it is self-imposed or directed by a health professional,” says Jeff Schemmer, executive director of Hamilton County Public Safety Communications. “The Smart911 app also allows quarantined individuals to receive check-in messages on their health status. Individuals who sign up will receive tailored alerts based on their specific needs and geographic location.”
Individuals can create a Smart911 Safety Profile for their household at Smart911.com or on the Smart911 App. The sign-up process is quick and easy, while also giving first responders crucial information on you and your family that they may not otherwise have.
“It acts as a database for the public to provide us information that we can utilize in emergency situations,” Schemmer says. “It can be something as simple as descriptions of their home, how many people live in their house or if they have any family members that have medical conditions.”
In many cases, Schemmer explains that an individual’s phone number may not even tell 9-1-1 responders where exactly they’re calling from. This is where Smart911 comes in handy.
“80 to 85% of our 9-1-1 calls are cellular,” Schemmer says. “We have no way to pinpoint a phone, so what they can do is link their home address, or even work address, to their cellphone number.”
In signing up for a Smart911 account, Hamilton County residents can also ensure they’re receiving any and all public safety announcements from county officials.
“We just also added Rave Alert, which is part of the Smart911 suite,” Schemmer adds. “It allows us to push out notifications to people. So if there are severe weather warnings, we can push that out. And since it’s done over a cellphone, the likelihood of us reaching people with an emergency notification is better than a tornado siren because people don’t necessarily hear those inside or at night.”
When it comes to what information individuals share with Smart911, Schemmer states it’s ultimately up to the individual. Hamilton County citizens can do as much as sharing a photo of their home, or as little as linking their cellphone number to their home address. Regardless, privacy is always ensured.
“If you go into your profile, you can add additional notes, and that’s what we would see,” Schemmer says. “It gives us a lot of information we can use, and we only have access to it when you call.”
All in all, Schemmer hopes to continue getting the word out about this helpful public safety tool.
“We’re gradually increasing [the number of sign-ups], but a lot of it is getting the word out and reminding people about it,” Schemmer says. “It will provide the first responders with more information to better serve the citizens of Hamilton County in an emergency.”
Hamilton County residents can create their free Smart911 account for free at smart911.com.