When it comes to a 911 emergency, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. The more information a dispatcher has, the faster responders can do their jobs.
A new technology called Smart911 is now live in the cities of Westminster, Lakewood and Arvada and in Jefferson County, and is helping law-enforcement agencies and fire departments provide the fastest and best service possible.
Smart911 is a nationwide, private service that allows people to create safety profiles online. Participants can enter vital information about themselves and family members to be used during a 911 emergency situation. Westminster police investigator Cheri Spottke said people can put as much or as little information on the profile, including medical, pet and home information.
“Seventy percent of 911 phone calls are made on a cell phone, which makes it hard for us to locate people,” she said. “But through Smart911, people can upload photos and give pertinent information so that when they call 911, all of the information is at the fingertips of the dispatchers.”
Smart911 is funded by the Jefferson County 911 Authority. The cost is $444,000 for five years. Lynn Johnson, Jeffco 911 Authority board chairman, said by implementing the Smart911 technology, the board is managing the 911 dollars in the best way possible.
“The technology is awesome,” he said. “The dispatchers and the responders will have information available to them in just seconds. That is tremendous. This technology will save lives.”
According to Westminster dispatch supervisor Missy Saggau, the technology is easy to use and is already having a big impact on her job. When a 911 call comes in from a person with a Smart911 profile, Saggau can quickly locate that person and obtain vital information.
“We have a lot of people who can’t talk when they need help or aren’t able to tell us where they are,” she said. “This will help us figure out all of that much faster.”
Smart911 is a free service, and people can create their profiles by going online to www.smart911.com. After signing up, people, will be contacted every six months to confirm their information on the profile is current. More than 20 other states in the nation also have Smart911.