Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
When taking an emergency phone call, public safety officers' response time is often slowed by having to collect information from a panicked person. To improve the speed and quality of emergency assistance, municipalities in more than a dozen states have implemented Smart911 -- an award-winning software that allows citizens to create online profiles for free. Citizens can upload their photo as well as their children's' and include information about their physical description, emergency contacts, medical conditions and address. When someone with a profile dials 911 -- whether from a landline or cell phone -- the call taker can immediately forward all relevant information to first responders, such as firefighters and police officers, reports Government Technology. Smart911 also reminds users to update their information twice a year and if they fail to do so, their profile is deactivated and can no longer be accessed in emergency situations.