Brentwood residents may not realize just how smart the city’s police dispatch center is.
The system uses the free Smart911 service, which allows residents to create personalized information profiles that enhance emergency response, should they ever need it.
Residents are able to enter a vast array of information points, such as medical conditions and allergies, emergency contacts, photos, property layout and vehicle descriptions.
“It’s kind of 9-1-1 on steroids,” said Sasha Vargas, community marketing manager for Rave Mobile Safety, which provides the service. “You are preparing 9-1-1 takers for the emergencies.”
When signed-up users dial 9-1-1 from associated numbers, the information pops up on the dispatcher’s screen, giving first responders a jumpstart, said Katie Miller, a Brentwood Police Department (BPD) dispatch supervisor.
For example, users can upload photos of their children, which will be immediately passed on to responding officers if they go missing; people with known medical conditions can give en-route medics a clue to possible problems if they become incapacitated; and those with tricky property configurations or special gate codes can prepare first responders to expedite property access.
The service also offers enhanced RapidSOS technology, which can be more accurate than conventional cell phone tower capabilities, Vargas said.
“It’s a great tool to have,” said Miller, who noted that BPD subscribed to the service when it opened its dispatch center in early 2017.
Users can upload information and pictures to their profile via a website or app, or they can use telephone service if they don’t use email, Vargas said.
The current service, which has been around for at least 10 years, is embraced by at least 1,500 nationwide municipalities, including the East Bay cities of Brentwood, Concord and San Ramon.
The profiles are connected to associated phone numbers and can only be accessed by participating agencies when users dial 9-1-1.
Vargas said, in many instances, the information could be a lifesaver.
One user’s profile instantly alerted authorities to a possible diabetic emergency when a four-year-old dialed 9-1-1 for their suddenly incapacitated mother. Another member’s information portal alerted first responders to an associated vehicle type and possible location, after the car sunk in a body of water following the driver’s 9-1-1 call.
“If, for example, you call 9-1-1 but cannot speak, information will pop up on the dispatcher’s screen and they can use that information for response,” Vargas said. “If you call 9-1-1 today, all they are getting is your phone number and maybe a location, which could be a different address than the (cell phone) tower.”
Vargas shared other unique instances where profiles can make a difference, such as if a caller needs translation services to communicate, or when domestic violence victims call 9-1-1 but avoid describing the real issue out of fear of retribution from nearby abusers.
It’s unclear how many Brentwood residents utilize the service, but Miller said BPD encourages everyone to sign up for the free service.
For more information or to create a profile, visit www.smart911.com.