It's obviously very effective when we have the information fast. Part of the time it takes before we can dispatch officers to a call is trying to figure out the person who is calling. —Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton
LAYTON — The 911 emergency dispatch system here is about to be smarter.
The Layton City Council recently approved plans for the city to install the state's first "Smart911" service.
When the system goes online next month, 911 dispatchers will not only be able to determine where a person who participates in the program is calling from, but any other information that could be vital in saving a person's life, whether they're calling from a cellphone or land line.
"It's obviously very effective when we have the information fast. Part of the time it takes before we can dispatch officers to a call is trying to figure out the person who is calling," said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton.
With the new Smart911 system, residents who chose to do so can go to a website to create a "safety profile," he said. In that profile, they can include any information they think would be vital for police or fire crews to know in case of an emergency, including medical histories, vehicle information, physical appearances and languages spoken.
"They can enter information about other people in the household with them," he said. "They could enter all types of information."
In real-life application, sometimes elderly people with Alzheimer's call on their cellphones but can't remember where they are or where they live, Horton said. The same is true for young children who sometimes need to call 911, either because of a medical emergency or domestic disputes involving their parents.
The information might also be used by firefighters called to a burning house who need to know how many people normally live there.
The submitted data would be saved in a computer that only 911 dispatchers can see whenever someone calls from one of their designated numbers.
"I think it's going to be a good thing. I think if we advertise it the right way, we ensure people the information is secure. We have a good feeling about it. We're not really afraid that people will sign up," Horton said.