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Residents urged to use Smart911 service

ESCANABA — Delta County Central Dispatch is urging Delta County residents to build a profile for themselves using Smart911.

Smart911 allows people to provide the additional details that dispatchers may need in order to assist them during an emergency. The information appears on a screen for the dispatcher when the person calls 9-1-1.

Jen Peterson, 911 operations coordinator at Delta County Central Dispatch, said creating a profile on Smart911 is free for all residents of Delta County.

“It’s an opportunity for regular residents to provide a lot of key information that would be available to 911 dispatchers, and then responders that would be sent to that emergency only if an emergency occurs,” she said.

Residents of Delta County can create a Safety Profile through the Smart911 app, which is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, or through the website Smart911.com.

According to Peterson, Central Dispatch does not build profiles for Delta County residents. She said residents have to create their own profiles or have a family member assist them in setting one up.

Peterson said a Smart911 Safety Profile can include a multitude of information dispatchers can access only when a number within the profile calls 911.

“There’s quite a bit of information that can be put in, but you can put in as much or as little as you are comfortable giving,” she said. “But the only time that it’s available to us is if you call 911.”

All members of a household, including their photos and phone numbers associated with them, can be added to a profile. Emergency contact information, including family, friends or neighbors, can also be added to a profile.

How to access your home, bedrooms, utility shutoffs and if you live in a multi-unit building can be part of your Smart911 profile.

A profile can also include medical conditions, medications, and if special equipment will be needed in an emergency.

Pets, service animals and livestock, including their names and veterinarian information can be added, as well, so first responders can be aware of them when entering a home.

In the event of a car accident, people can add information pertaining to the make, model and license plate number of their vehicle to their profile.

“So basically we have a dedicated screen in the dispatch center that’s going to show all of the information that you put on your profile,” Peterson said. “And we’ll use that to help coordinate a more appropriate response for whatever it is that’s occurring at your residence.”

She explained an example of how a Smart911 profile can be helpful includes if someone is losing consciousness and is unable to verbally communicate with a dispatcher, their profile — including medical condition information — could signal to the dispatcher to not only send a police officer to the location, but also an ambulance.

Although people can pick and choose what is included in their profile, Peterson advised whatever information is added to a profile must be updated every six months to remain active.

“The profile needs to be updated every six months,” she said. “They’ll send like an email and text message alert to remind you it’s time to verify your profile. So at that point, it does need some sort of attention. You either need to go in and hit still good — this information is all still valid or you need to make changes.”

Peterson said reverifying information every six months makes sure all information on the profile is up to date and accurate.

Smart911 is a national company.

According to Peterson, if a Delta County resident is out of the area and the local dispatch service they’re traveling through has Smart911, their profile will work there in the event they ever have to call 911.

The information housed within Smart911 is protected utilizing the same SSL certificate authority and encryption technologies used by leading financial institutions.

“For years we’ve been telling people ‘don’t give your personal information to anybody.’ This is one of those things where the only people who will have access to it are emergency responders and the access will only occur if you dial 911. And the company that provides this service uses the same types of security as major national banks,” Peterson said.

Although Smart911 has been available to residents of Delta County for awhile now, Peterson said she is going to different places within the community, like senior centers, to provide more information on the service.

“It’s good for everyone to have,” she said.

Peterson said if people have any questions pertaining to Smart911, they can call Delta County Central Dispatch at 906-786-5911 or check the Delta County Central Dispatch Facebook page or visit the Smart911 website.

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