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A wheelchair-bound man called 9-1-1 because there was a fire in his home. When the firefighters arrived at his home they proceeded to put out the fire, but because they didn’t know that he was still inside, he died. Not only was his family devastated but I imagine the firefighters were, too. But what if there was a way for the firefighters to know that there was someone living in the home who might have difficulty getting out, before they arrived at the house, so they could look for him first? There is, and it’s called Smart911.

Smart911 is a national database that gives first responders critical information they can use to better help people when they require emergency medical and rescue assistance. Residents in a community that use this system enter in additional information voluntarily before an emergency which allows for a more comprehensive profile and reduces the chance of a misunderstanding during the 9-1-1 call. The information is only accessed by the 9-1-1 dispatcher when the resident calls 9-1-1 from a registered phone and can be relayed to the first responders.

The information that people would enter could include:
• Standard contact information such as name and age for all residents in the home – including photos.
• Health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses
• Medications
• allergies
• Emergency contacts
• Physical description & photos of the residents
• Whether a resident may have difficulty communicating because he/she is deaf or hard of hearing
• Whether a resident has limited or no vision.
• If there is an individual with limited mobility and any special equipment that would be helpful to have.
• If there is an individual with developmental disabilities
• If there a service animal in the home
• A description of the home in case of a fire that could include information about number of residents, pets, and the best way to access the residence. Also, gate codes and the location of the gas shut-off valves.
• Vehicle identification in case of an accident

Residents enter the initial information and maintain their profile. It’s also important that they update or confirm their profile every 6 months.

Smart911 is rapidly being adopted nationwide and is already operating in over 1,000 communities within 37 states. There is no cost to the individual residents, and the cost to the municipality is only $125,000 per year.

Imagine this . . .
A woman calls 9-1-1 because she believes she’s having a heart attack. On the way to the home, EMT’s receive information from dispatch about the occupants in the home. On arrival, they find the unconscious woman and assist her, but also look in the spare bedroom closet and find an autistic boy. He’s the woman’s grandson and on the Smart911 safety profile for the home, she had noted that when he hears sirens, he hides in the spare bedroom closet. The profile included a photo of the boy and his name, which enabled the EMT’s to coax him out of the closet with minimal distress.

Patients are People, too!
Smart911 can help first responders to save lives. To learn more check out their website at www.smart911.com, or contact:
Tom Bash – Springfield District, Fairfax Area Commission on Aging
tombash@verizon.net | (703) 913-7559

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