Springfield Residents Urged To Sign Up For Smart911
People have gotten used to posting profiles about themselves on social media and now one western Massachusetts city is encouraging its residents to create public safety profiles too.
The city of Springfield has joined Smart911, a nationwide service that can send first responders to the right location with potentially life-saving information. With the system a person can link home and work addresses to a mobile phone number and include information about family members, pets, medical conditions and emergency contacts that will be instantly seen by dispatchers when the person calls 9-1-1.
The city’s top public safety officials joined Mayor Domenic Sarno Tuesday to urge residents and business owners to sign up for the free service at www.smart911.com.
"The more information our brave and dedicated firefighters and police officers can have is only going to enhance their response when it comes to saving lives and saving structures," said Sarno.
Officials stressed that participation in the system is voluntary and people can provide as much personal information as they want. But Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant and Police Commissioner John Barbieri said the more firefighters and police officers know as they respond to an emergency call the better the odds for a good outcome.
" Public safety is a complicated issue that involves collaborating with neighborhoods and providing officers with the best information possible to provide better service and this product assists with that greatly," said Barbieri.
Sixty-five percent of the calls to 9-1-1 in Springfield come from cell phones, according to Dispatch Director Melissa Nazzaro, who said GPS cell locations inside buildings are inaccurate so her staff needs the information a Smart911 profile can provide.
"Not having an exact location like you get with a landline phone can slow down the response," she said.
The public safety profile can include photographs that could be used to help locate a missing child, or adult.
"It increases the amount of information available from the initial phone call rather than having to wait for the first officer to arrive, obtain a hard copy ( of the photograph), scan it, and send it out to the searchers," said Nazzaro.
Smart911 is operated by Rave Mobile Safety of Framingham, Massachusetts. The company’s marketing director Katharine Dahl said profiles are stored in secure databases.
" I always like to highlight that you decide what to include in your profile," said Dahl. "We don't ask for Social Security numbers or other financial information. You provide as much or as little as you want and it is only seen if you call 9-1-1. This is not a searchable database
Nationwide, the service is used in about 10 percent of 9-1-1 call centers.