Kent County, MI’s new 911 program works with cell towers to increase emergency response time and efficiency, potentially saving lives. The Smart911 program allows first responders to pinpoint the location for emergency services needed to more accurately serve county residents quickly.
The nationwide Smart911 program enables individuals to create an online safety profile for their household, including information like home address, medical information, family makeup, home layout, pet descriptions, and the location of gas and electrical shutoffs. When an individual with a Smart911 profile contacts 911, the dispatcher can access the profile via a secure database, only visible to the call-taker.
“Having a Smart911 profile can be particularly helpful if you’re calling from a cell phone,” said Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma. “Mobile phones don’t always give a precise location so having that cell phone registered to a specific address is very helpful.”
Being able to accurately pinpoint a cell phone location is imperative in an emergency, especially since approximately 81 percent of 911 calls made this year in Kent County have been placed via cell phones, according to Matt Groesser, Kent County’s Dispatch Center Manager.
The Smart911 program is available in 40 states and is free to Kent County residents. Currently, the program fees are being offset by a grant; moving forward, it’s expected to cost the county $40,000 annually if the grant isn’t renewed.
To sign up for the Smart911 program go to: https://www.smart911.com/
April 13, 2017