Smart911 launches in Round Rock to address emergencies faster

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — In the digital age that we live in, it seems like information overload can be a problem, but in the case of Smart911, the more information the better. Smart911 just launched Thursday in Round Rock. When you sign up online, a profile about you pops up when you call 911.

“This is automatically populated, it’s there at your fingertips,” explains Becky Rodriguez, operations support manager for the Round Rock Police Department.

Once you create a profile with Smart911, you can register any information you want; things like phone numbers of everyone who lives in your house or specific medical information. You can even let police know if your child has a disorder like autism, and provide a picture of that child.

“Parents have told us that [their] children [with autism] respond to Christmas carols, so our guys will sing Christmas carols, we’ll do what we need to do,” says Rodriguez.

If your house ever catches fire, your profile can show crews the floor plan of your house before they arrive.

“I think one of my biggest concerns is if there was a fire, would they know to get my dog out as well?” asks Bethaney Bliss who lives in Round Rock.

The answer: yes. You can also put information about your pets in your profile.

“It benefits you and shortens the response time,” explains Rodriguez.

There is also a chat feature. If you call 911 and hang up, they can text you back.

Bliss is sold on the idea and says she’s signing up.

Smart911 will also link your cellphone to your home address, which can help rescue crews figure out where you might be faster. Currently, cellphones don’t show dispatchers your exact location.

The program will cost the Round Rock Police Department $32,000 for the first year, and an additional $27,000 each year to follow.

After launching the same program more than a year ago, the Cedar Park Police Department says Smart911 has helped hundreds of people.

Cedar Park Police launched Smart911 in January 2015. Since then, more than 1,200 people have filled out profiles. In the last 90 days alone, Cedar Park police say they have used Smart911 profiles 114 times when people called for help.

This August another new feature called Text-to-911 will roll out. The Capital Area Council of Governments says it will go online in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties this summer. It will be available across the rest of central Texas by Thanksgiving.

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