New technology in Russell Co. can protect children, pets

New technology in Russell Co. can protect children, pets

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - "It could be the difference between life and death," is how Russell County officials describe the Smart911 program they began using county-wide on Thursday.

Users create an online profile and can detail certain aspects of their home, family, and medical information.

Once you register your phone number with the system, the information you provide will pop up when you call during an emergency, and first responders can see those often crucial descriptions.

More than 31 million people across the country are already signed up for Smart 911, using its spectrum of possibilities. If a fire were to break out at your home for example, firefighters would already have the answers to crucial questions,

"Are you an all-electric home or do you have gas going into your house, if there's a fire, first responders firefighters need to know that," said Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith.

The info would also alert firefighters to search for pets on the scene.

Once you register your phone number you can add things like pictures of your family, which could help police find lost children or those with special needs who have a tendency to wander away.

"If you call 911, the dispatcher then can electronically send that picture out to all their patrol cars, so as they are actually responding to the missing child, they can actually be on the lookout as they go," said Smith.

This information will only be available to 911 dispatchers when you call from the registered phone number, and neither police or anyone else can pull up the info for any other reason.

"I don't think that you have to enter anything in that system that you would need to worry about somebody getting a hold of and stealing your identity financially," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

Signing up for Smart911 is completely optional and free, and can be done by clicking here.

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