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Smart911 Heightens First Responder Situational Awareness

Emergency response personnel can use data entered into Smart911 to make better decisions and improve response time.

Emergency personnel in Orange County, Va., will soon have a more complete view of emergencies when responding to 911 calls -- within the next few weeks, the county will have a Smart911 system in place, NBC reported.

Residents fill out an online form with personal information that will populate the Smart911 database, and should a resident call 911, responders will be able to use the pre-entered data to make better decisions and improve response time.

"When we can receive medical information such as what type medications a patient is on, what type allergies they have, a medical history, we can process that information in route to an emergency medical response," Orange County Fire and Rescue Chief John Harkness told NBC news. "We're going to be able to help that patient sooner and probably more effectively,"

Information that may be useful to emergency responders but may not occur to a panicked caller includes the presence of a person in a wheelchair who may need special equipment to be helped; a blind or deaf person; a person with diabetes, Alzheimer's or epilepsy; an aggressive pet; or livestock in a rural area. When residents submit this information to Smart911, emergency dispatchers are then able to relay this information to emergency response personnel, giving them heightened situational awareness when arriving on scene.

Smart 911 systems have popped up in counties around the nation over the past few months. Most recently, a Smart 911 system was announced on Nov. 2 by emergency personnel in Hempstead County, Nev. More information about Smart 911 can be found at

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