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Sign Up Today For Smart911

The York County Board of Commissioners today announced the launch of two major enhancements to York County’s 911 system.

The county 911 Center beginning Wednesday will become one of only about 400 public-safety answering points nationwide to accept text messages, the Commissioners announced. There are approximately 5,900 such answering points throughout the nation.smart911 web badge green med

The 911 Center also on Wednesday will become only the second in Pennsylvania to use Smart911, which allows people at no cost to provide advance information to 911 dispatchers to be used in the event of an emergency. Under the program, individuals can create free profiles at smart911.com that contain information about medical conditions, allergies, the number of children in a house and more.

The information is tied to the individual’s phone number and becomes immediately available to dispatchers if the individual calls 911.

“These improvements reflect our deep commitment to ensuring York County residents have access to the best possible response if they’re involved in an emergency,” said President Commissioner Steve Chronister. “No one wakes up in the morning expecting to need 911 service. But if you do, these two new features could help save your life or the lives of your loved ones.”

Commissioner Chris Reilly encouraged all York County residents to go online and sign up for Smart911 as soon as possible.

By filling out a profile, people can alert emergency responders in advance of a variety of different critical information, including:

  • The layout of the family home, which could help responders search for loved ones in case of a fire or other emergency
  • A family member’s physical or developmental disability. The system allows individuals to note, for example, that a child in the house has autism and may hide in a closet if he/she hears an emergency siren.
  • Emergency contacts responders can call in case of a vehicle accident
  • Specific allergies or medical conditions within a household.

“The 10 minutes it takes to create a profile could have a profound difference if an emergency arises,” he said. “It won’t just help if you are here in York County. Your profile will travel with you throughout the country because it’s tied to your phone number. “

Commissioner Doug Hoke said the County pursued text-to-911 because of the growing popularity of text-messaging and the benefits it offers to individuals with hearing or speech impairments.

He offered the following tips on texting to 911:

  • Only text to 911 in an emergency
  • Use a voice call if possible.
  • Avoid the use of abbreviations. Start by stating the nature of your call and your location
  • Texting to 911 cannot include more than one person – meaning no group texts.
  • Text messages that are routed to another 911 Center because of a caller’s location cannot be transferred to the York County 911 Center unless the other Center is also text-capable.
  • If texting is not available for whatever reason, the texting party will receive a bounce-back message.
  • Individuals must have a texting plan with their carrier to text to 911
  • Don’t text while driving unless absolutely necessary

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