Smart 911 coming

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 20, 2017

The Pike County Commission is set to hear more about a proposed mass notifica-tion system again on Monday after EMA Director Jeanna Barnes pitched the system to them at the last meeting.

One of the key points that was made about the effectiveness of the system, known as “Rave Alerts,” was it’s ability to work in collaboration with Smart-911, another system that the county is about to begin employing.

But what is Smart-911 and how will the two work together?

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E911 Director Chris Dozier, who is working to get the system up and running for the county, answered some of those questions on Wednesday.

“As far as the interface, my understanding is that when someone goes in and makes a profile for Smart-911 they’re given the option to share that information with EMA,” Dozier said. “If anyone’s on a respirator or has any other medical needs when con-sidering any kind of large emergency, that information will be available. My understand-ing is that it doesn’t include that person’s name, but says there is someone in this house that relies on whatever kind of medical support.  You can also put in how many pets you have, pictures of the locations you might be at whether work or home, and many other things.”

Barnes explained a specific situation that could have benefitted from Smart-911 that occurred in January 2014, when roads in the county were iced over for several days.

“During the winter event, we had dialysis patients that couldn’t get to dialysis so the National Guard had to help get them to their dialysis treatment,” Barnes said.

Smart-911 allows for residents to voluntarily include medical information such as being on dialysis so that the EMA can already see the needs in the community when a sim-ilar emergency situation unfolds.

“We can’t ask about medical conditions because of HIPPA, but if they provide it, we can have an idea of medical needs that we have throughout the county in situations like that,” Barnes said.

In addition to personal use by residents, there is also a business use feature that Dozier said business can use to let the county know about key-holder information, busi-ness blueprints, evacuation routes, hazardous chemicals and more that emergency re-sponders might need to know.

Dozier said that he’s seen no comparable system that has as much detail and diver-sity as Smart-911 and Rave Alerts provide.

“I haven’t seen anything comparable to it. I haven’t seen a notice system that co-vers everything as easily as this does,” Dozier said. “It’s literally three steps to send out an alert, whether it hits everything or it’s just an internal email. You can choose what medi-ums it goes out to. Each department can have a login for it and can link it to their Facebook profile, domain, website or whatever they need.”

Dozier said that he’s currently going through the system to work out all the bugs so that if anybody has trouble signing up or getting certain alerts from the system he can know how to help them. The system has already been employed at the dispatch centers and Dozier said that he is now just waiting to get it into the hands of emergency respond-ers before officially opening the system up to public use.

Dozier’s goal is to have the system available to the public in the next few weeks.

A Rave Alerts representative will be speaking to the Pike County Commission on Monday, January 23 about the mass notification portion of the system as commissioners decide whether to approve its use. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. with the regu-lar meeting following at 6 p.m.

The Pike County Commission meets upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.