New Castle County is the first location in Delaware to offer "Smart 911," the national safety service that provides more effective emergency response, according to a county press release.
New Castle County Acting Chief of Communications Jeffrey P. Miller announced the new system during a press conference June 25 at the Paul J. Sweeny Public Safety Building.
Joined by New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi, Public Safety Director Joseph Bryant Jr., Police Chief Col. Elmer Setting and Emergency Medical Services Chief Larry Tan, Miller detailed how this new service would open up direct communication between public safety officials and the citizens they serve.
"We take great pride in providing the best possible public safety services to our residents, businesses and visitors in New Castle County," Miller said. "By embracing this new technology that has already proven successful all across the country, we are giving citizens the power to engage and communicate with our public safety agencies in an entirely new way, which during an emergency can save time and ultimately lives.
"I am particularly proud that New Castle County is the first in 'The First State' to bring a new level of public safety to its community," he added.
ABOUT THE NEW SERVICE
Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile 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 hours.
In a press release, County Executive Thomas P. Gordon, former police chief, said Smart911 was comparable to New Castle County Police's predictive policing program that used state-of-the-art technology to predict where crime would occur and take proactive measures to prevent it.
"This is part of our good government initiative that puts the citizens of New Castle County first at all times," Gordon said. "Any day we can save lives is a good day, as far as I'm concerned. I commend Chief Miller for spearheading this effort."
Police Chief Setting said Smart911 would immediately provide emergency responders with important details that would allow them to tailor their responses accordingly.
"When an emergency arises, a caller sometimes can't communicate for various reasons," Setting said. "We can now have the home address of a mobile phone caller, and can approach the scene of an emergency knowing more about a household, including who lives there and even pets that may be in the home, which provides greater safety for our officers."
Page 2 of 2 - Emergency Medical Services Chief Tan said Smart911woud be especially valuable if a caller had a medical condition that may be preventing them from speaking.
"EMS personnel can be dispatched with instructions to prepare for a patient with an inability to communicate," Tan said. "Smart911 also has the capability of forwarding critical medical information that is provided by a patient to the responding EMS personnel."
County officials also pointed out that in the event of a fire, local fire company crews could be advised as to how many residents and even pets may be in the home and in need of rescue. Smart911 offers a greater sense of security to the community by knowing that first responders have the information they need to help residents and visitors during an emergency.
Introduced nearly three years ago by Rave Mobile Safety, the most trusted software partner for campus and public safety, Smart911 has been adopted in 31 states and more than 350 municipalities. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, and saving lives, such as a heart attack victim in Nashville.
"When citizens put more information in the hands of emergency responders prior to an emergency, they are enabling faster and more knowledgeable response for themselves and their families," said Tom Axbey, president and CEO, Rave Mobile Safety. "We applaud New Castle officials and emergency responders for bringing greater safety and peace-of-mind to residents and for leading the way in our home state."
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.