COMMENTARY: SMART911 lets Kent Countians prepare for emergency

As chairman of the Kent County Levy Court Public Safety Committee, I am very pleased to announce that the Kent County Levy Court’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Communications, has launched a new program, SMART911, which will allow all citizens to prepare for an emergency prior to an actual emergency occurring.

This life-saving program uses technology to provide information for first responders and is now being utilized by our Kent County 911 Center.

Terry L. Pepper

Terry L. Pepper

SMART911 is a free service which allows the public to create a profile of their personal information which an emergency responder would need to know in the event of an emergency. This profile may include the following: details about family members in a household; any special-needs information such as mobility issues, hearing impaired, sight deficits; addresses and phone numbers of family contacts: medications family members may take; photos of family members, property and entry points; pet information; etc.

The information included will be determined by the user so that first responders can provide the best service.

At least 70 percent of all calls into the 911 Center are made from cell phones which do not include caller names or adequately pinpoint the caller’s location. SMART911 provides the capability for the 911 center to obtain this basic information, allowing for a rapid response by police, fire or EMS.

Many times, a person calling our 911 Center in need of emergency services is unable to communicate the information needed adequately. With SMART911, the center can dispatch emergency personnel immediately with life-saving information available for their use. Delaware joins 43 states which utilize the SMART911 system with proven success.

I understand the concern with personal information and identity security. All profile information is secured on an encrypted server which is available only to our 911 Center when a person dials 911 from his or her phone. The amount of information provided to the SMART911 system is decided by the individual.

The SMART911 program mandates this information must remain private at all times and cannot be used by anyone except emergency responders.

The program will save precious time and lives. I strongly urge all citizens of Kent County to enroll in this program now, as it is available free to the public. To sign up, simply log onto www.SMART911.com and follow the instructions. If you have specific questions, please call 735-2200 for assistance.

Editor’s note: Terry L. Pepper is the at-large commissioner on the Kent County Levy Court.

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