Smart 911 helps Gahanna's first responders save time, lives

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group

Gahanna public-safety officials recently launched a free service that is expected to save time during emergencies.

The city of Gahanna on March 3 announced that Smart911, a service allowing individuals and families to subscribe to provide important information to 911, is available.

Gahanna launches Smart911 to enhance emergency response.

Smart911 allows individuals to create a safety profile for their household by going online to smart911.com or using the Smart911 app, said Carrin Wester, Gahanna's communications manager. She said the safety profile should include any information the subscriber wants 911 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. 

When a person makes an emergency call, his or her safety profile automatically is displayed to the 911 operator, allowing notification to the right response team to the right location with the right information, Wester said.

The Smart911 agreement is an annual service agreement between Smart911 and the Gahanna Division of Police, costing $13,500, which includes initial setup costs, Wester said.

She said it was financed by federal equitable-sharing funds via the U.S. Department of Justice, and it’s based on the service-area population. 

Gahanna’s population was about 36,075 in 2019, according to Wester.

“Smart911 has been proven nationwide to shorten the response time for emergency calls,” said Angie Collins, Gahanna police-dispatch communications supervisor. “The additional information added to the safety profile allows the dispatcher to get an exact location for the caller.”

She said emergency medical information also is included in the profile, which could be helpful when responding to a vehicle crash, a house fire or any type of emergency that affects the caller’s ability to communicate with 911. 

“The details provided within the Smart911 profile help us respond more quickly and efficiently,” Collins said.

Gahanna Division of Police Chief Jeff Spence said Smart911 is an opportunity for Gahanna’s residents to provide critical life-saving information to aid 911 dispatchers and first responders in emergency situations. 

“By creating a Smart911 profile, users can supply very detailed information in a safe and secure manner,” he said. “This is a free service offered to our residents that will greatly enhance our response to residents in times of emergency. The system saves time, which save lives.” 

Such information as medical conditions, pets in the home and family members in need of special care are a few examples of information that could be attached to a user’s telephone number, according to Spence.

Fred Kauser, Mifflin Township fire chief, said Smart911 enables the first responder to assess the situation more efficiently. 

“Smart911 is like having a conversation with first responders before you even make the 911 call,” he said. “Remember that the smartphone you are carrying may not point first responders to a specific address. Smart 911 will." 

Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin said it’s always a goal to offer the highest level of service possible to residents.

“Public Safety, first and foremost, is our No. 1 priority,” she said. “Smart911 will enhance the level of service we provide to our community.” 

The information in a profile could be accessed only by a 911 dispatcher when a call is placed to 911 from a Smart911 user’s telephone, according to Wester.

With Smart911, individuals could link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which could be passed on to responders in the field for a more detailed, rapid response, she said. 

Smart911 is available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities across the country. 

Locally, Gahanna joins Grove City and the city of Dublin’s Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center as part of the Smart911 network. 

For more information or to create a safety profile, go to gahanna.gov or smart911.com

The Smart911 app is available on the App Store or Google Play. 

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla