Van Buren County Introduces Smart911 as New Public Safety Service

County Officials Urge Citizens to Create a Safety Profile Providing Emergency Responders with Critical Information that Can Save Time and Lives

 During a press conference held today at Van Buren County Emergency Operation Center, 9-1-1 Advisory Board Chairman Randall Peat announced that Van Buren County now offers Smart911, the national safety service that provides more effective emergency response. Joined by State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, Undersheriff Gabrielle Rought, Decatur Police Chief David McLeese and Bangor Fire Chief Derek Babcock Chairman Peat detailed how Smart911 will provide a way for citizens to provide additional information to public safety officials during an emergency.

“Currently when we receive an incoming 9-1-1 call, we have limited information. That is especially true for calls from mobile phones,” said Undersheriff Rought. “Having more information to better understand the situation is an immeasurable benefit to our call-takers.”

Nationally about 70 percent of calls to 9-1-1 are made from mobile phones, which provide limited location information. Currently, Van Buren County is at 83% wireless callers. Including an exact address in a Smart911 Safety Profile can save time during a response, especially if that address is located in a multi-unit building or development. Information from a Safety Profile can also be passed on to responders in the field for more precise, rapid response.

“Knowing what kind of situation we are walking into can help us to better plan our response to save time and ultimately lives,” said Decatur Police Chief David McLeese. “I would like to encourage all citizens of our County to take advantage of the Smart911 technology that is now available. The information that you provide will better inform all first responders, which will assist them in providing the best possible service at the most critical time. Additionally, knowing vehicle information can assist us in locating an accident, and, knowing there are pets on the property can help us provide a safe response for the citizen and our officers.”

Smart911 allows citizens to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information.  Responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than hours. Visit to sign up.

“Smart911 can give a voice to those who may not be able to communicate.  If a caller has a medical condition that may be preventing them from speaking, EMTs can be dispatched with instructions to prepare for a medical response. If there is a fire, our crews can be advised as to how many residents and even pets may be in the home and in need of rescue,” said Bangor Fire Chief Derek Babcock.  “Smart911 offers a greater sense of security to the community by knowing that first responders have the information they need to help residents and visitors during an emergency.”

Smart911 is currently available in 30 states and more than 350 municipalities across the country, and has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including a missing child in which the girls photo and physical description were immediately available to 9-1-1 and responders, as well as a heart attack victim where an address and medical notes allowed responders to be dispatched to his location quickly.  In Michigan, Smart911 is currently available in Grand Traverse County and soon Eaton County.

“By deploying Smart911 and urging citizens to create a Safety Profile, Van Buren County is demonstrating their commitment to delivering the most effective emergency services possible to area citizens,” said Tom Axbey, president and CEO, Rave Mobile Safety. “Municipalities are realizing how detailed information can dramatically improve emergency outcomes, and as this public/private partnership expands, we can look forward to increased public safety across the entire country.”