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Michigan 9-1-1 Dispatch Centers & Citizens Benefitting from Smart911 Service

Date: 2015-12-17
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When an emergency call is placed from a phone registered with the caller’s Safety Profile, the 9-1-1 systems recognizes the phone number and automatically displays the profile on the screen of the call taker


From facilitating discreet communications with assault victims still in danger, to assisting in medical emergencies and guiding fire crews to rescue people from burning houses, Smart911 has been helping Michigan 9-1-1 centers create better outcomes since 2013. First deployed by Grand Traverse County Central Dispatch, Smart911 has been helping resource-strapped emergency service departments across the state to be more effective, efficient and precise with their responses.

A life-saving, national safety service, Smart911 provides dispatch centers with greater information about a caller, beyond just a phone number. Citizens can create a free, private and secure Safety Profile for their household, which can include data about an individual, family, a residence and even pets. Details include medical conditions, disabilities and special needs. When calling from within a business or other complex, rich details about the facility, including access codes for doors and gates, as well as floor plans and maps, also appear to the 9-1-1 call taker.

Smart911 also enables dispatch centers to initiate text sessions with people who have placed an emergency call, even if the caller does not have a Safety Profile. This feature has allowed 9-1-1 call takers to verify a non-emergency status of open-line calls, or “pocket dials,” without having to dispatch police, saving time, energy and resources.

“There are many benefits to Smart911, one of which is managing the ever-increasing problem of ‘butt’ dial callers. People tend to joke about them, but our call center and others receive many every single week, which has become a huge burden and resource waste for us,” said Timothy Smith, executive director of Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority. “Whenever we get an open-line call, we have to verify that there is no emergency, which distracts call takers and first responders from their primary duties of helping those actively involved in an emergency. We’ve learned that when we call the mobile phone back, people won’t answer it from the unrecognized number, but they will respond to a text message and verify the accidental nature of their call to 9-1-1. By quickly being able to determine there is no emergency, we save time, stress and tax-payer money.”

The value of Smart911 was underscored in Roscommon County, Michigan earlier this year when a 9-1-1 call taker received an open-line call. The call taker initiated a texting session and learned that the call was intentional and from a young, female who had just been assaulted and was too afraid to speak. Police were immediately dispatched to help.

“Being able to assist that caller in this situation would not have been possible without us being able to reach her by text message,” said Vance Stringham, director of Roscommon County Central Dispatch. “We were quickly able to realize the severe nature of this emergency and send assistance to her immediately. In situations like these, things can escalate at any moment, making a rapid response paramount. Not only did our dispatcher do a fantastic job handling this, but there is no question Smart911 was instrumental in rescuing a young victim from a life-threatening scenario.”

These are just some of the ways that Michigan 9-1-1 dispatchers have been benefiting from the functionality of Smart911. Other examples include:

  • In Ionia County, two young children called 9-1-1 and reported they were left home alone. Ionia County Central Dispatch took advantage of contact information contained within the accompanying Safety Profile to make sure that the children, were in fact, under adult supervision. This relieved the necessity to dispatch a police officer to perform a wellness check.
  • In Muskegon County, a 60-year old man called 9-1-1 with labored breathing and unable to speak more than one or two words at a time. The medical information contained within the caller’s Safety Profile gave the call taker the information he needed to verify critical details and immediately dispatch EMS, saving time and allowing the dispatcher to focus on keeping the man calm and regulating his breathing.
  • In Ottawa County, a confused, elderly man with a speech impairment called 9-1-1. The details within his Safety Profile included emergency contacts, who police were able to reach and obtain the necessary access code to enter the caller’s residence and confirm his safety, saving a lot of time and resource.

To date, 12 Michigan counties and one city have deployed Smart911 to better assist their 9-1-1 operations and the communities they protect. Six more counties are set to deploy in 2016.

For more information please visit

- Corporate News/ (via Rave Mobile Safety, 12/17/15)


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