Dubuque County Adopts New 'Smart911' Service - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dubuque County Adopts New 'Smart911' Service

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     When there's an emergency those answering the 911 calls say the more information, the better. As of this week Dubuque county is the first county in Iowa to adopt a new service that's expected to help with that. It's all up to residents to participate.

     In an emergency situation seconds count and for dispatchers, police, and paramedics to know certain little details about a family it can make a big difference. 

     On Monday, Smart911 went live for Dubuque County. It's a software where area residents who want to participate can create a free household profile online. They can input things like how many people live in a home, where the bedrooms are, medical conditions, emergency contact information, even pet information. All of that is secure and connected to whatever phone number the user wants. That information would only pop up for the dispatcher to see if someone dials 9-1-1 from that line. Or first responders in the field can access it only if they're given a special ticket number.

     "A lot of times if we get a hang up call or calls and doesn't talk we don't know how to treat that if we get that information that says they have a cardiac history or are hearing impaired or other signs that this is a legit call we get an ambulance going right away," said Mark Murphy, Dubuque Emergency Communications Manager.

     No one is forced to sign up if you're worried about privacy. Those in Dubuque County who start a Smart911 profile will need to update it every six months so first responders have recent information if there's an emergency. Officials say other counties have expressed interest in starting this service as well.

     Forfeiture funds from the drug task force are being used to pay for the first year of the software. Then the annual cost of $14,000 will be split between the Dubuque Police, Sheriff's department and other law enforcement agencies in the county. Officials say it's budgeted and won't affect fees for the public.

Visit www.smart911.com for more information.