Smart911 aids first responders, Charleston County residents in emergency situations

Charleston County’s Consolidated 911 Dispatch Center now uses a new, innovative service that aims to enhance responses to emergency situations.

The nationwide service known as Smart911 links phone numbers and addresses to pre-made safety profiles on households and individuals, ensuring residents are one step closer to help when they need it, a Charleston County news release said.

The service, which is free to Charleston County residents, allows users to list health conditions, medications, emergency contacts, vehicle descriptions and any other details that could be useful to first responders.

Residents can also upload photos of themselves, family members and pets, said Charleston County EMS Director Don Lundy.

“I think technology has really done a good thing here. (Smart911) gives our personnel advanced, patient-specific information, which is often so hard to get in an emergency,” Lundy said. “A lot of times patients aren’t in a position to provide that kind of information.”

When a resident calls for help, their safety profile will immediately appear on the 911 dispatcher’s screen, saving crucial moments, said Consolidated Dispatch Center Deputy Director Allyson Burrell.

The service has several benefits, she said.

If a fire occurs, Smart911 can notify firefighters of how many people and pets need to be evacuated from the home. Burrell said she heard of the service helping locate a missing child because the mother had previously uploaded a photo that was quickly dispersed to officers.

Since the service is nationwide, Burrell said, the profiles are available to dispatchers in all participating jurisdictions.

“If I created an account and I go to Nashville or Atlanta and something happens, they’re going to see that profile pop up,” Burrell said. “It’s not just beneficial to Charleston. It’s beneficial to the citizen wherever they need it.”

Details included in the profiles are voluntary and customizable based on individual needs. The online profiles are private and viewable to dispatchers only when a call is placed to 911, Burrell said.

Smart911 is being used in more than 1,000 municipalities in 38 states, officials said. Other areas in South Carolina using the service include Abbeville, Aiken, Cherokee, Edgefield and Orangeburg counties.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.