In March 2012, the Osage County Emergency Operations Center announced the availability of Smart911 for all citizens. This service allows citizens to create a safety profile for their household with the vital details they want 9-1-1 to have in the event of an emergency. It is a FREE service available to all citizens, inside or outside of Osage County and 100% private and secure.
One of the most unique features of Smart911, is the ability to allow the 9-1-1 dispatchers to communicate with callers through text messaging. Once the initial 9-1-1 call is made, if the caller has indicated in their safety profile that they are deaf or hard of hearing and wish to communicate via text messaging, the dispatcher may initiate a 2-way text session with the caller. It is important to note that citizens are not able to text directly to 9-1-1, but need to place a voice call to 9-1-1 first. The texting feature isn’t just for the hearing impaired. It can be used in bad cell reception areas or situations that voice may not be appropriate, i.e. hostage situation or burglary.
Now, Smart911 has additional features to aid citizens during a natural disaster or emergency. Citizens can opt to provide the county’s emergency management officials and responders with additional details that may be used in disaster planning, evacuation and recovery efforts. While we cannot always anticipate a disaster, we can plan to respond to one. Whether there is a flood, fire or nuclear power plant emergency, being able to determine who will need assistance and what type of assistance may be needed, will significantly benefit our ability to respond to citizens. By providing information such as mobility limitations, electricity needs, evacuation assistance, and even pet information, citizens are giving us a head start in helping them.
To participate in the enhanced Smart911 program, citizens can visit www.smart911.com to create a safety profile, or update their existing profile. Their profile can include specific medical conditions and functional needs, all family members, pets, photographs, home and work addresses associated with telephone numbers, vehicles, and more. This profile is immediately made available to 9-1-1 when the citizen places an emergency call. Within their profile, citizens can also grant permission to emergency management officials to see specific rescue related details for use in a disaster situation. These additional details provide the ability to more efficiently plan for emergencies.
For example, during a weather emergency which may cause a power outage, officials can determine which residents may require power for medical reasons, which individuals may need assistance evacuating their homes, and even proper handling of pets. Profiles are completely safe and secure, and each citizen manages their own information at www.smart911.com. The availability of these additional details will add to the Osage County Emergency Operation Center’s objective of preparing the whole community for a disaster or other emergency, not just those with functional or access needs.
If you’d like to assistance creating your profile or would like to see what the 9-1-1 and emergency operations center staff sees, please stop by and visit with us. We’d be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to register your families with Smart911 and pass this along to all patrons, family and friends traveling through Osage County.