Deaf Awareness Week is underway and members of the community and their families are being encouraged to take advantage of Smart911, a public safety service that can save valuable time during emergencies. Currently, when a citizen who is deaf or hard of hearing needs to contact 9-1-1, they would use methods such as a relay service or TTY, which takes time and can delay emergency response. With Smart911, these citizens can dial 9-1-1 directly and dispatchers are immediately notified that they are being contacted by a citizen with a hearing disability who is unable to communicate.
"Smart911 eliminates some of that communication barrier because it allows us to create a profile that gives us an opportunity to state our disability and communication preference," explained Jeff Prail of the Arkansas Association of the Deaf. "The emergency responder will have the opportunity to receive the information before arriving to the front door. They will be more prepared to be able to communicate with the caller."
Smart911 allows citizens to create a free online Safety Profile containing vital details about their household that they want 9-1-1 to have during an emergency. Once created, when a citizen places an emergency call, their profile is automatically displayed to 9-1-1, giving emergency teams a better understanding of a situation and the ability to respond to the right location with the right personnel and right equipment.
For example, through Smart911, Emergency Medical Services can know about medical conditions, allergies and disabilities, facilitating precise life-saving treatment. Fire crews will know not only how many residents live at a home, but locations of bedrooms, those with special needs, even if there are pets on-premise. Police have instant access to details ranging from vehicle information for an accident or photos of children in the event of a missing child, which can dramatically improve their ability to respond and help citizens.
Each Smart911 Safety Profile is private, secure and only available to dispatchers during an emergency call. Also, because it is a national system, once a Safety Profile has been created, it can be delivered with a 9-1-1 call in any area of the country if the local 9-1-1 call center is supported by Smart911.
Smart911 is offered by Rave Mobile Safety, the trusted software partner for campus and public safety. It is the result of a public/private partnership endorsed by leading public safety and health officials throughout the U.S. and now helps emergency responders across 25 states protect millions. It is widely supported by advocacy groups including those representing deaf and hard of hearing communities such as the Arkansas Association for the Deaf and Tennessee-based Bridges. Smart911 has received many honors, most recently being awarded the "Parent Tested Parent Approved Winner's Seal of Approval."
"Smart911 displays additional data to 9-1-1 call takers and emergency responders that may improve responsiveness to citizens," said Tom Axbey, CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. "Time is critical during emergencies, and for deaf or hard of hearing citizens, Smart911 provides that vital ability to communicate directly and quickly with 9-1-1. This reduces the chance of tragedy and saves lives, and we are particularly pleased during Deaf Awareness Week to bring some peace of mind to members of this community and their families."