March 29, 2017 Edition

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Lawrence County Chief Deputy Tony Waldrupe (left) and Paige Vanbrook with the 911 Communications Center look at a profile screen for the Smart 911 program.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

LCSD, 911 center seek
help from residents

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and the county's 911 Communications Center are asking residents to consider two ways they can help reduce response time on emergency calls and possibly save a life.

One way residents can help is by creating a Smart 911 profile, and the other is by making sure house numbers are properly displayed so that homes can be easily located by responders.

The addition of Smart 911 technology in Lawrence County allows a dispatcher to have important information as soon as a call comes in, but many in the county still have not set up a profile, according to LCSD Chief Deputy Tony Waldrupe.

"It is very valuable," Waldrupe said of the information provided to responders through the program, "but very unutilized."

The Smart 911 technology allows residents to establish a profile that is connected to a cell phone number, as well as a home phone number if there is one. When a call comes in from that number, information provided in the profile becomes immediately available to the dispatcher.

Information that can be provided includes address, type of car driven, medical conditions, ages of who all live in the home. Individuals can choose what information they want to include, and the information is only available if a call to 911 is made from the phone that is registered with the profile.

Paige Vanbrook with the 911 center said without a Smart 911 profile the only information the dispatcher receives when a call comes in on a cell phone is GPC coordinates.

"With Smart 911, when you call 911 the dispatcher has instant access to any information you have provided," she said.

Waldrupe said having as much information as possible is crucial in a response.

"We are taught when responding to try to size up before you get there," he said. "The more information they can give you the better prepared you will be."

Vanbrook also emphasized that by setting up a profile, residents can provide this pertinent information when they are calm and can think of things that could be helpful to a responder instead of in the middle of a 911 call during an emergency situation.

Smart 911 can also assist in the case of someone who cannot communicate verbally, whether they be suffering from a medical emergency, are deaf or have special conditions that limit their speech.

To create a Smart 911 profile, go to smart911.com. For those who do not have Internet access through a computer or phone, Vanbrook and Waldrupe encourage them to make the time to find someone to help them create an account.

"Ask for help from a child, grandchild or church member," Vanbrook said.

Waldrupe added that residents can use computers at the county libraries or even make an appointment to come into the 911 center and set up a profile.

House numbers
are big need

Another priority in the county is getting house numbers posted where they can be seen from the road during night or day.

"At times our responders have difficulty finding residences," Vanbrook said. "Having visible house numbers can have a big impact on response times."

House numbers can be placed on a home, but, especially if there is a long driveway, it is recommended to have them on the mailbox, or if the mailbox is not at the driveway, on a post at the driveway.

"Having numbers on houses is essential," Waldrupe said. "In every situation, for EMS, law enforcement and fire departments, that is your landmark. The more visible it is, the better it is."

In addition to making sure house numbers are posted some other things to consider are:

have bushes, vines or weeds grown to where the address is not visible?

is a reflective material used to make the address visible at night?

is the size large enough to be seen by approaching vehicles?

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