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Town Now Offers Smart 911 System For Emergencies

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Town Now Offers Smart 911 System For Emergencies

By Andrew Gorosko

Residents who want to better aid emergency dispatchers and the police, fire, and ambulance crews who respond to emergencies now have the option of automatically providing detailed information to those dispatchers during Emergency 911 calls.

Through the use of the new Smart 911 system, residents may now fill out electronic forms on the Internet providing information including name, age, gender, appearance, and medical conditions, plus other details.

To register for the free Smart 911 service, residents may visit the town’s Internet homepage at www.newtown-ct.gov; on the lower left section of the page, they will find a green icon with the legend Smart 911. Clicking on that icon opens a registration page for the Smart 911 system.

The general web address for the Smart 911 system is: www.smart911.com.

At an October 10 event announcing the town’s participation of the Smart 911 system, First Selectman Pat Llodra noted the practical value of such a system.

The “safety profiles” that residents create in the system would prove very useful in emergencies, she said. “This is a great benefit” for 911 dispatchers and for emergency response teams, she added. The information that residents would provide would be kept confidential and private, she said.

Mrs Llodra said, “I intend to enroll myself and my family today.”

Mrs Llodra thanked Emergency Communications Director Maureen Will for her efforts to implement the Smart 911 system, noting that Newtown is the first municipality in New England to participate in the system.     

Ms Will, who oversees local emergency dispatching, said that dispatchers receive all types of emergency calls. Some 911 calls received are from people who are physically unable to say much to the dispatchers due to their medical condition, so having Smart 911 information available would be a great help in dispatching such calls, she said.

“It’s 100 percent private and secure,” Ms Will said of the personal information that residents would provide for the Smart 911 system.

It is very important that first responders have pertinent information on what to expect when going to an emergency, Ms Will said.

The Newtown Emergency Communications Center at Town Hall South, 3 Main Street, dispatches police, fire, and ambulance services. It answers all local 911 calls. It is staffed around the clock by two dispatchers. In 2011, it answered 8,080 emergency 911 calls.

Smart 911

The Smart 911 system is provided by Rave Mobile Safety, a Framingham, Mass., software firm.

The Smart 911 system is used by people in 23 states, including more than 300 municipalities, according to Rave.

The numbers for conventional telephones, for cellphones, and for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones may be listed on the Smart 911 system.

When registering, residents create a safety profile online that is automatically displayed to 911 dispatchers during emergency calls. The profile can include home addresses associated with mobile phone numbers, details about specific medical conditions and disabilities, a list and photos of family members, building floor plans, and other rescue-related data.

Such details can then be relayed by dispatchers to emergency responders in the field, giving them a better understanding of a situation and the ability to respond to the right location with the right personnel and equipment with the goal of  saving time and saving lives, according to Rave. 

Often, when going to emergencies, the responders do not have much information about the situation.

A photo of a child posted on a Smart 911 profile page can give police a timely advantage in the event of a missing child, fire crews can have information on how many people live in a home and where their bedrooms are located, and ambulance crews can be made aware of allergies or preexisting conditions that may affect treatment on scene, according to Rave.

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