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Forrest County Is First In Mississippi to Enhance 9-1-1 with Smart911 Public Safety Service

Public Safety Officials Encourage Residents to Create a Safety Profile with New Service that Makes Emergency Responders More Effective and Provides Citizens with Greater Safety and Peace-of-Mind

HATTIESBURG, MS. January 25, 2015 – A man trapped in a house fire calls 9-1-1 but can’t communicate. A young child dials 9-1-1 but can’t answer the dispatcher’s questions. A woman suffering from a medical condition calls 9-1-1 but falls unconscious. A frantic mother calls 9-1-1 to report her daughter missing. These are all instances when 9-1-1 dispatchers need additional information in order to send help to a person in need, and the time taken to find this information can be the difference between life and death.

Public officials in Forrest County announced today that they have taken a step forward to enhance their emergency response services. Forrest County is the first location in Mississippi to implement Smart911, a free national public safety service that allows citizens to provide the information dispatchers need, before an emergency happens. Smart911 enables citizens to create a Safety Profile online that can include any information about their household that they want 9-1-1 to have in an emergency. When an emergency call is made, their profile is immediately delivered to the 9-1-1 call-taker, resulting in far greater emergency response effectiveness and saved lives.

“Smart911 provides our residents and visitors with a way to be more proactive about their family’s safety,” said Jim Hennessey, Forrest County Telecommunications Supervisor. “The time of an emergency can be very chaotic and panicked. By giving these individuals the ability to provide details that 9-1-1 and response teams may need prior to an emergency, our teams can act faster and with better information to assist them. We are proud to be the first location in Mississippi to offer this service to our residents.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile at for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. Responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

“When an emergency arises, a caller sometimes can’t communicate for various reasons” said Lt. Jon Traxler, Hattiesburg Police Department. “Smart911 immediately provides 9-1-1 call takers with details to better respond to many situations. We can now know the home address of a mobile phone caller, and our personnel can approach the scene of an emergency knowing more about a household, including pets that may be in the home which provides greater safety for our officers.”

“There are so many small details that can better assist our teams in responding to an emergency that we don’t often know about ahead of time,” said Chief Paul Presley, Hattiesburg Fire Department. “Information such as the type of residence, access points, bedroom locations or utility shut offs can save time getting to the person in need. Also knowing their immediate medical conditions such as allergies, medications or disabilities can help us assess the situation faster and more accurately”

Smart911 is currently available in 38 states and over 1,000 municipalities. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations and saving lives across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, a heart attack victim in Tennesee and a man trapped in a house fire in Michigan. As a national service, anytime a person with a Smart911 profile dials 9-1-1 in any location in the US that support Smart911, their profile will appear to dispatchers allowing for more information to be available at the time of an emergency.

Residents are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1. Smart911 data is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses and available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.



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