Susquehanna County has introduced a new system to enhance its 911 services. It's now using Smart911, a resource which will allow county residents and visitors to give information about themselves and their families to help emergency crews respond to urgent situations.
To get started with the service, you can head to www.smart911.com and create a free Safety Profile for your home or business. The profile can include any information you would want 911 response crews to have on hand in the event of an emergency.
"So that when a first responder goes, they automatically know what they're allergic to, what medications they're on, what special needs that they have," said Alan Hall, chairman of Susquehanna County Commissioners.
The information is kept private and secure in a national database. When a 911 call is made, the private profile automatically appears for emergency dispatch.
"It pops right up on the screen, the dispatcher doesn't have to do any extra steps," said Nancy Tator, Training and Quality Assurance Supervisor for Susquehanna County 911.
Information such as building floor plans or medical conditions that people have chosen to provide is shown, helping to save time in emergency situations.
"This information can actually then be sent out to the responders -- and they can be looking at it at the time of a fire and know, 'Okay, this is this type of a structure. We know we have to approach it from this way,'" said Tator.
It's a resource Susquehanna County resident Brian James has already signed up for -- to help protect himself and loved ones.
"I was even able to put individual pictures of my two cats. In case there's a fire, they know which two to look for," said James.
That preparedness is key when responding to emergencies.
"When those minutes count, when those seconds count, that's where this system actually really enhances everything that we have," said Tator.
"It's a national database too. So if you dial 911 from your cell phone and you're in a different area of the country, as long as that 911 center receives Smart911 data, your profile will be available to them," said Ryan Tator, Systems Manager for the Susquehanna County Department of Public Safety.
Smart911 was introduced over four years ago by the Framingham-based Rave Mobile Safety. It's used in over 1,500 municipalities nationwide, including Wyoming and Luzerne Counties in PA.
Any Susquehanna County residents with questions can also contact Smart911Susquehanna@susqco.com or call (570) 278-5901.