The voluntary system will allow county residents to build information profiles that first responders can use in tailoring their approach to their business or residence in the event of an emergency.
By Matt Skoufalos | December 7, 2016
Camden County emergency dispatchers will be able to tailor their approaches to people in need of aid through a new information service that county officials say is the first of its kind in South Jersey.
Called Smart911, the voluntary registration system allows residents and business owners to provide levels of personal information about their family, pets, vehicles, and the layouts of their buildings to be used by first responders in the event of an emergency.
Smart911 joins Swift 911 and Text 911 as the third digital emergency service in use in Camden County.
All information is encrypted and matched to the phone numbers provided by enrollees. It is only accessible to 9-1-1 dispatchers for the duration of a call made by from a number registered with the system. The service is provided to the county government on a $50,000 annual license, but is free for users to access.
Camden County Public Safety Coordinator Robert Blaker called Smart911 “another tool in our toolbox.
“To have information that we wouldn’t have otherwise can be valuable,” Blaker said, noting that officers might be able to de-escalate a domestic dispute or disorderly persons conflict with more details on-hand prior to arrival.
Better information “can change the mindset of a police officer responding,” he said.
Blaker also suggested that Smart911 information could help first responders better aid a resident with a chronic medical condition, developmental disability, or similar concern.
He stressed that users are in control of how much and what kind of information they provide to the system. The Smart911 intake form offers drop-down information for facilities access, vehicles associated with the property owners, home layout information, the names and photographs of pets, and similar details.
Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young said that Smart911 “can shave seconds off a rescue” with valuable information. The service is provided nationwide, “so it follows you wherever you go,” Young said.
“It’s another enhancement for our first responders,” he said.
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