News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

April 17, 2014

EDITORIAL: Get smart with 911

Expanded system a boost for county's public safety

TERRE HAUTE — Worst-case scenarios when emergency service are needed are not things people like to think about. But focused attention on details in advance could make a life-changing, even life-saving, difference in the future.

That is especially true now that Vigo County has expanded its 911 call service to allow residents to create safety profiles for their households that can include any information they want 911 call-takers and first responders to have in the event of an emergency.

The system is called Smart911. Using it makes sense, and it’s free.

Once a safety profile has been created, it is immediately displayed whenever someone calls 911 from that residence. The benefits are obvious, particularly in situations when a caller is panicked or unable to speak. Armed with immediate and detailed information about the location and people in it, emergency responders can save critical time assessing a potential crisis.

This is an important opportunity for Vigo County residents. But it’s only valuable if people take a little bit of time and use it properly.

The first and most crucial step is to create a safety profile online at www.smart911.com. Officials insist the system is private and secure and will be used by public-safety personnel only in emergencies.

When setting up a profile, think about potential serious situations such as a fire, medical problems or a missing child. You can supply valuable information, including the number of rooms in a house, presence of pets, a list of residents and their medical conditions or allergies, and even photos of adults and children.

When signing up, the system will walk you through the information that could be of value in an emergency. You can include whatever information you choose. But remember, the results will be only as good as the information a resident provides.

“The more information made available to 911 call-takers the better,” said Terre Haute Fire Chief Jeff Fisher.

Smart911 has spread across the country and is now in 33 states. It is a valuable service that makes Vigo County a safer place to live and work. We encourage residents to use it.

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