Profiles can aid rescue workers

Imagine your child is missing.


Every second that passes, he gets farther away.

It could be hours before an officer gets a photo, scans it onto a computer and sends it out to other officers.

In Aiken County, that photo is now available the second the parent dials 911.

It's all because of Smart911, a software program developed by Rave Mobile Safety that is designed to supplement operators with all the information they need when dispatching emergency responders.

The program is free to the public and allows users to list information such as medical conditions, disabilities, gas valve shut-off locations, pictures, vehicle information and even family pets.

Operators also can open up a line of texting when they're connected with someone on a cell phone who can't speak because of a disability or for safety reasons. However, the text has to originate from the operator after a call has been made.

"If you can't talk, the operators are trained to ask questions like 'If you hear me, press a button. Would you rather communicate via text? Press a button. OK, hang up and I'll text you right back,'" said Noah Reiter, the assistant city manager in Sandy Springs, Ga.

Sandy Springs became the first city in Georgia to use the program in January. Aiken County became the first in South Carolina on Thursday.

"Our response has been overwhelmingly positive," Reiter said.

Already the city has more than 1,000 profiles.

Todd Miller, the vice president for public safety at Rave, said since the program began a little more than a year ago it has already been credited with saving a Nashville boy's life.

According to Miller, the child's baby sitter, who was not fluent in English, called 911 when the child began having difficulty breathing.

Although dispatchers had difficulty understanding what the babysitter was saying, they knew from the profile appearing when the call was made that there was a child in the home with a medical condition.

"If they can't understand what's going on, they usually dispatch police only," Miller said. "But with Smart911, they can dispatch the right people with the right equipment the first time."

Rave Mobile also has exclusive agreements with cell phone partners to access the embedded GPS in the phone.

"That way if the call is dropped we've got not an exact location but a more precise area to go look for an incident," Reiter said.

All information entered in the system, maintained by Smart911, is confidential and can only be accessed by operators for around 45 minutes after a call is made.

The initial cost to use the program is $60,000 with an additional $55,000 annually. The bill is paid out of 911 fees collected from phone bills.

Anyone interested can register for free at

Smart911 includes:

- Household members and pictures

- Pet information

- Gas valve shutoff location

- Electrical panel location

- Gate or residence access code

- Special needs for rescue

- Allergies

- Medical conditions

- Psychiatric conditions

- Emergency/next-of-kin contacts

- Vehicle description and tag numbers

- Hospital preference

- History of domestic violence, restraining orders

- Language