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Smart911 System Lacks Subscribers, Boone County Still Committed

Meiying Wu

In 2017, Boone County implemented the Smart911 system, a program that allows subscribers to provide medical information, location, and photos to emergency responders instantly when making a 9-1-1 call. Emergency Management Deputy Director Tom Hurley said the program is very helpful in large emergency situations.

“People can go in and self-identify if they’re oxygen dependent, diabetic, something like that,” Hurley said. The program saw a 181 percent increase in subscribers from 2017 to 2018, but the total is still less than one percent of Boone County’s population, something Presiding Commissioner Daniel Atwill raised concerns about at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.

Hurley isn’t as worried. “I think that we’re effectively meeting the folks that need it and who benefit it the most. I’d certainly like to see an increase in the number of subscribers,” he said.

One of the commissioners has even used the system herself. “People don’t see the real benefit until something happens,” said County Commissioner Janet Thompson during the presentation of the Office of Emergency Management’s 2018 annual report. “For instance, when I made those calls about my mom this winter, they already knew who was in my home. They already had that information, so everyone was better prepared to come into my home, because they knew what issues they were facing.”

The program is free for residents of Boone County at Smart911.com.