On Monday, Ottawa County Central Dispatch and area public safety officials announced Smart911 — a service that allows citizens to create a safety profile — is now available in Ottawa County. The free service allows residents to register their phone number, medical information, emergency contacts and other information they would like emergency responders to know.
Residents can sign up for the program by visiting smart911.com. Tim Smith, executive director of the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority, said it is a secure website.
The program is also available in Eaton, Grand Traverse and Van Buren counties, as well as 32 states across the country.
Although the service is available in Ottawa County, you do not have be a county resident to register for it. It means dispatchers and emergency responders in the participating counties can access the information.
The county’s public safety millage funds the $45,000-a-year program, said Tom Valdez, deputy director of the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority.
Instead of dispatchers asking callers for information that they may not be able to communicate during an emergency, that data could already be collected with Smart911.
“It saves seconds, and seconds mean lives,” Valdez said.
Warren Billett, manager of the North Ottawa Community Health System’s emergency medical service (EMS), said the technology “revolutionizes” the ability for emergency service workers to quickly gain access to “potentially life-impacting information.”
“Information is critical during the first few minutes of an emergency, especially when the patient may not be able to communicate on their own due to the degree of injury or illness, trauma, stroke and cardiac arrest,” he said.
Smith said the Smart911 profile is available to dispatchers and emergency responders in the field when a registered caller contacts 911, and it is available for 45 minutes after the call.
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