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911 Services Featured Articles

February 10, 2011

Smart911 Mobile 911 Service: Nearly Four Million Users and Growing


By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor


Full disclosure here: I am the proud father of a paramedic whom 10 years ago this September was called to what became known as Ground Zero and who now supervises a team of emergency personnel at a large area hospital. So I am a big supporter of proven 911 service solutions that make it easier for him and his team members to help save lives and reduce suffering.

Rave Mobile Safety, maker of software safety solutions, offers Smart911 a free 911 service that enables residents to enter personal information that they want to make available to 9-1-1 call takers through a secure website at www.Smart911.com. And it is now available to nearly four million users, across multiple municipalities over a dozen states through their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

The additional data provided by residents is far more extensive than what is typically available to 9-1-1 telecommunicators and first responders and helps to dramatically improve emergency response outcomes. The information can include children’s photos, medical conditions, disabilities, home addresses of cellphone callers, or other rescue-related information.

Two information sets stand out in Smart911. First, the more information paramedics can obtain, such as allergies, symptoms, what medications they are taking and whether they are diabetic the better prepared emergency responders are to treat the patients on the scene. Second is obtaining cell phone users’ home addresses. When terrorists attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, cell service was an option; when the World Trade Center collapsed it took much of the cell coverage with it. My wife and I—we witnessed the attacks—could not reach our son for two days. Today such a service loss would be more serious for first responders as more households have been yanking out their landlines and going wireless only.

Smart911 then delivers this information automatically to the call takers’ work stations with any 9-1-1 call at a participating PSAP. Smart911 is a national system, and once the data is entered by an individual, it can be viewed by any PSAP that has deployed Smart911 across the U.S.

David Lucas, Lexington, Ky., 9-1-1 director, said his department found that additional information is especially helpful when it receives 9-1-1 calls from cell phone users, citizens with disabilities or impairments, as well as calls from homes with young children and the elderly. Those individuals need special consideration and Smart911 will better prepare his team to help.

“During an emergency the more information a 9-1-1 call taker can obtain and share with first responders, the better equipped we are to deal with the emergency,” explained Lucas. “Smart911 will allow us to be better prepared to address all types of emergency situations, and make Lexington a safer community.”

Smart911 is funded in communities with 9-1-1 surcharge funding. It is available directly through Rave Mobile Safety and various business partners, including AK Associates and Replay Systems; and has been through an Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and National Emergency Number Association (NENA) operational review.

“According to the FCC (News - Alert), over 70 percent of calls to a 9-1-1 center are from cell phones,” says Todd Piett, Emergency Number Professional and Chief Product Officer at Rave Mobile Safety. “For 9-1-1 telecommunicators this means that identifying basic information like a caller's home address and name are difficult to uncover.

“Smart911 allows citizens to enter information that connects them with their cellphone number and provides personal information that can be vital during an emergency. We are excited that Smart911 is now available to millions of users and look forward to making more towns, cities and states, safer in the coming year.”


Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard


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