COLUMBIA, Mo. - What if, when you called for help, the person at the other end of the line already knew everything about you? It sounds creepy, but in an emergency situation, it could be helpful.
That's why almost three years ago, Boone County's Joint Communications registered with the Smart911 service. Since its launch, the 911 center's seen a slight increase of those signing up for the service but hope for more involvement.
Brian Maydwell, the operations manager at Joint Communications, told ABC 17 they receive anywhere between 15 and 45 calls per week that have Smart911 profiles.
"Ideally, it would be nice if everyone who called 911 had a profile because it just gives us some additional information that we can provide responders," Maydwell said.
It's vital information that emergency responders need as soon as possible. It includes any medical conditions or disabilities and the type of medications a caller is taking. Imagine if firefighters knew you had three cats and four people living in your home at the time of a fire. That's also information a caller can provide through the Smart911 service to ensure that no one gets left behind.
"Our 911 call is on average around two and half minutes," Maydwell said. "So, as much information as we gather in two and half minutes, anything extra and additional that we have that can help on the front end to get a response out faster, that's what we're looking for."
The information is secure and is only accessible when you call 911. If you call with a cell phone, it even helps pinpoint your exact location. It's also helpful in situations when the caller can't speak.
For example, Keyona McBride told ABC 17 her mother had been unable to talk after a tracheotomy. McBride said she likes that with a Smart911 profile, all of her mother's information would pop up on the dispatcher's screen if she ever needed to call for help.
"It would work out really good for her because sometimes it's even hard for her to breathe," McBride said. "You know, I didn't know about it, but I think more people need to find out about it."
Smart911 is a free service. Those in Boone County can register using a cell phone or a land-line phone by visiting the Smart911 website. You can sign up using as little or as much information as you want. That information will transfer to other 911 centers throughout the country registered with the Smart911 service.