2014-11-12 / LifeStyles

Smart 9-1-1

Program can reduce response times for police, paramedics, firefighters by linking personal information to residents’ home or cell phone number
By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer


Members of Concord Baptist Church teamed up with Cherokee County 9-1-1 on Saturday to help sign people up for the Smart 9-1-1 program that links personal information to your cell phone number to give 9-1-1 in the hopes of saving precious seconds or even minutes during a 9-1-1 emergency call. Members of Concord Baptist Church teamed up with Cherokee County 9-1-1 on Saturday to help sign people up for the Smart 9-1-1 program that links personal information to your cell phone number to give 9-1-1 in the hopes of saving precious seconds or even minutes during a 9-1-1 emergency call. Looking to help their family members, friends and neighbors in times of need, members of Concord Baptist Church in Gaffney teamed up with Cherokee County 9-1-1 on Saturday to help sign people up for Smart 9-1-1.

In just a few hours, they were able to get about 30 more people signed up for the program that seeks to reduce response times for police, paramedics and firefighters by linking personal information about you, your family or your home to your home or cell phone number.

When a person enrolled in Smart 9-1-1 calls 9-1-1 for help, the information they previously provided pops up on the 9-1-1 operator's screen. Officials say this can shave seconds, or even minutes, off getting help to a scene — even if the person calling for help is unable to speak.


Cherokee County 9-1-1 Lt. Brandon Peeler, in foreground, along with volunteers from Concord Baptist Church, helped sign up approximately 30 more people for the Smart 9-1-1 program on Saturday during a special event at the Concord Road church. Cherokee County 9-1-1 Lt. Brandon Peeler, in foreground, along with volunteers from Concord Baptist Church, helped sign up approximately 30 more people for the Smart 9-1-1 program on Saturday during a special event at the Concord Road church. Saturday's event at Concord Baptist Church, which was open to the entire community, was organized by Jacquelyn Bridges, who said she was motivated by her own experiences as an ER nurse and in helping her family sign up, and Lewis Blanton, who previously worked at 9-1-1 for 22 years.

Lt. Brandon Peeler of Cherokee County 9-1-1, who has been overseeing implementation of the Smart 9-1-1 program, said Saturday's sign-up event was one of the most successful so far.

Currently, Peeler said, there are about 2,000 Cherokee County residents enrolled in Smart 9-1-1, which is being provided for free by the county to county residents.

While anyone can sign up on their own by visiting the smart911.com website, events like Saturday's are geared toward providing more information to folks who haven't heard about the service and sign up help for those who may lack Internet access or who may not feel comfortable wading through the 5- to 10-minute process on their own.

"It's a good project," Blanton said. He said there were many times during his career at 9-1-1 that the extra information provided by Smart 9-1-1 would have been very helpful.

A profile can be as detailed as the enrollee wants. You can include the names of the people who live in your home, any medical conditions that First Responders should know about, a description and picture of your home or the cars in your driveway, or even information about your pets.

Information about a bedridden person and their location in a home, Blanton noted, would be extremely valuable to firefighters in case of a fire.

Officials have constantly tried to allay concerns about the security of the information, noting that 9-1-1 operators will have no access to your Smart 9-1-1 profile unless someone calls 9-1-1 seeking help.

While only a few percent of Cherokee County's residents have enrolled so far, Peeler said at least three to four Smart 9-1- 1 profiles are coming up at Cherokee County 9-1-1 every day now and the information is being put to good use.

Peeler, who had previously been invited to Concord Baptist Church to speak about Smart 9-1-1, said he's always willing to accept invitations to other churches and civic groups to discuss Smart 9-1-1 and help with sign-up events. He can be reached by e-mail at brandon.peeler @cherokeecountysc.com.

"We hope a lot of others follow after us," Blanton said.

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