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9-1-1 in South Carolina Gets “Smarter” With Use of Smart911

Abbeville and Edgefield are latest counties to provide the rapidly expanding public safety service that helps citizens to plan ahead for an emergency

Two more counties in South Carolina have implemented Smart911, the national public safety service that helps to provide faster and more accurate emergency response. Abbeville and Edgefield Counties are now encouraging their citizens to sign up for Smart911, the free service that allows citizens to create a Safety Profile online that includes any information about themselves or their household that they want 9-1-1 to have in an emergency. When that citizens makes a 9-1-1 call, their profile is immediately displayed to the 9-1-1 call-taker, resulting in far greater emergency response and saved lives.

“By bringing Smart911 service to more counties in the state, we are giving local residents and visitors the ability to provide potentially life-saving information to first responders before an emergency, which is especially important in situations when the caller is panicked or unable to speak.” said Sharmel Miller, director of Abbeville 9-1-1.

First implemented in Aiken County in 2011 and Cherokee County earlier this year, Smart911 provides a way for responders to be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

“Smart911 is especially beneficial to those with a medical condition or disability. If the citizen has created a Safety Profile, we can respond to their emergency call with the proper equipment and with a better overall awareness,” said David Porter, director of Abbeville County Emergency Management. “Those valuable seconds or even minutes we can save by dispatching the appropriate response teams immediately can be lifesaving.”

Nationally about 70 percent of calls to 9-1-1 are made from mobile phones, which provide limited location information. Including an exact address in a Smart911 Safety Profile can save time during a response, especially if that address is located in a multi-unit building or development. Smart911 is a free service for citizens and is completely secure. Information is only made available to 9-1-1 operators when the citizen dials 9-1-1 from a number associated with their Safety Profile.

“Having service available in more counties in the state continues to provide additional benefits to all citizens,” said Suzy Spurgeon, director of Edgefield County Emergency Management Agency. “Now if one of our residents makes an emergency call in any of the other counties offering Smart911 service, their profile will be visible to call takers in that county and it can be used to assist in their response ”

Smart911 is currently available in 35 states and more than 500 municipalities across the country, and has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including a missing child in which the girls photo and physical description were immediately available to 9-1-1 and responders, as well as a heart attack victim where an address and medical notes allowed responders to be dispatched to his location quickly.

“By taking the initiative to plan ahead for any emergency with Smart911, citizens are helping us better service them” said Fran Forrest, director of Edgefield County 9-1-1. “When an emergency happens, seconds matter and any time that can be saved by having information immediately to tell us who is in need of help and where they are, can make a significant impact on the response efforts.”

Citizens are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1. Smart911 data is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses, and only made available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.

 

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