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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Smart911: Help First Responders Find You

Fort Thomas Fire Chief Mark Bailey urged residents to sign up for Smart911 to help first responders locate you in an emergency.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Last month marked the sad anniversary of the tragic death of a local teen who suffocated after being trapped in his minivan. In 2018, Cincinnati teen Kyle Plush died when emergency personnel were not able to locate him in time.

Vowing to never let this happen to another teen, his family has led the fight locally to improve emergency response and have been alerting people to a free and special service known as Smart911.

At a recent city council meeting, Fort Thomas Fire Chief Mark Bailey reminded listeners that Smart911 is available in our area. To sign up, go to the Smart911 link on the Fort Thomas city website. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, and it could save your life, he said.

More than 80 percent of the calls that are made to 9-1-1 call centers are made from cell phones, and mobile phones do not provide enough information to precisely locate a caller. The phones can indicate a general area, but, as in the case of the Cincinnati teen, it may be very difficult to pinpoint exactly where you are.

By signing up on the Smart911 website, you can provide secure information that will be shared only with first responders in the case of an emergency. This information includes your home address, vehicle information, medical conditions, emergency contact information and even pet information. You can include specific instructions on how to access your house if you are unable to respond.

In a recent press conference promoting Smart911, Jill Plush, Kyle's mother, said, "In an emergency when every moment counts, this information can mean the difference between life and death."

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