Emergency calling gets smarter

Smart911 will make emergency calls faster and more efficient.

Grand Traverse County may be receiving a new program to help 911 operators and first responders get to emergency situations faster, and with more information.

The program by Rave Mobility is called Smart911. A tool that provides authorities with important data that citizens voluntarily provide in the event of a 911 call.

"It's designed so that if you have registered your phone with the service, that once that 911 call is placed, it automatically provides us with a window of supplemental information on to a work station monitor for us and it's automatically displayed for the call taker to take advantage of that," said Jason Torrey of the Grand Traverse Central Dispatch.

Citizens will be able to go to the the Smart911 website and provide their medical information, address, household and emergency contact information into a database that is private and secure.

Grand Traverse County Central Dispatch is waiting on approval from the county, and hopes to have the program up and running as soon as possible. If approved, Grand Traverse will be the first county in the state of Michigan to use Smart911.

The program currently serves 28 states in the country and some other large Metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Washington DC. The program works nation wide. If a citizen chooses to use the program and their community does not have it, the information can still be accessed in the event of an emergency outside their home state.

Smart911 is free to citizens, and annual licensing fees will be funded through Grand Traverse County.

The program also has a texting feature which allows those that are hard of hearing, or unable to use the standard phone service to still contact 911 operators through SMS texting.