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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

“Smart 911” system will roll out in NKY in next 3 months

By Jessie Eden

A new 911 system that will soon be available in NKY allows people to add their information so that first responders can provide the best possible assistance to help them in an emergency situation. “Smart 911” is a part of a national program called “Next Generation 911”. The system allows people to securely load their medical information, emergency contacts, car make/model, their address and even the pets that live in their home who may need to be rescued if an emergency occurs.

How does it work?

If an emergency occurs and you call 911, dispatchers will automatically see your information...but that information cannot be pulled up manually. It must be activated by a 911 call. The system is free, secure and uses GPS technology to track your cell phone so help can get to you quickly. There is even an app that you can download so you can update the information as needed. The system requires users to log in every 6 months to update their info.

Dale Edmondson, the Executive Director for Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Center (or Campbell County 911 for short), has been in public safety since 1974. That’s 45 years of public safety experience and he’s seen a lot. His advice? Register.

“It saves time and time is everything during an emergency.”

Edmondson, who is also a Fort Thomas resident, says the Smart 911 system will be live in Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties by May 2019 or so.

“We are working behind the scenes on some of the technical aspects of the system but it will probably be active in the next two to three months but this doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t register. The system is up and running in Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville. It is up and running in lots of other cities.”

It may be assumed that most people would want to register but for those who need an extra push, Edmondson has a good argument. “Do you have anyone in your family that you love? Wouldn’t you want to be notified as soon as possible if something happened? If you have children, register their phones,” said Edmondson.

“It’s the same for aging parents.”

Edmondson recommends the Smart 911 system for a variety of uses; for adult children who may have learning disabilities but live alone and are fairly independent, for people who may have pets in their home that need to be rescued during an emergency or pets that First Responders should know about before entering a home during an emergency.

It is also recommended that people, for example, who are shooting enthusiasts that may have gunpowder stored in their home. “If a first responder enters a home during a fire, it’s important that they be made aware of the items before entering.”

You don’t have to fill out everything if you don’t want to. You can leave some areas of the profile blank but, per Edmondson, this is an opportunity to put in the info you would want emergency responders to know.

The Next Generation 911 initiative is also working on a program called “Rapid SOS” which will allow responders to find cell phones faster. “Per federal regulations, responders use triangulation and GPS to find phones,” said Edmondson. “Recent Apple phones remit the GPS immediately to 911 even if it’s turned off. The phone will automatically turn it back on as soon as the phone calls 911. It’s pretty accurate and we can locate phones with 30 seconds to 1 minute.”

To sign up for a free, secure profile on Smart 911, please click here.

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