Hennepin County Deploys Smart911 to Aid Emergency Response
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office recently deployed Smart911, a nationwide program that lets people provide additional information that can be used in an emergency.
“Some of the first things we need is your location, and it is very difficult now to get that information immediately, especially if you’re unable to talk or tell the dispatcher during a call,” explained Tony Martin, emergency communications director for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
People create a profile on the Smart911 website or via the app. They then can share information about medical conditions, descriptions of pets and vehicles, and emergency contacts.
“You can have pretty much anything in here that could help our responders get to you faster,” said a 911 dispatcher, who did not wish to be identified.
When someone calls 911 from a cell phone, an exact address isn’t provided. But with Smart911, dispatch can get coordinates of where the caller is located and how they can get to them.
The system also allows 911 to text with the caller if that person is unable to speak. Officials say Smart911 is secure and cannot be accessed outside of a 911 call.