Lewis and Clark County creates emergency 911 app

Posted at 9:02 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 10:32:15-04

HELENA – The Lewis and Clark-Helena 911 dispatch center supports a new app that automatically provides 911 call takers and first responders with critical information in an emergency.

Smart911 is a free app available on Android and OS that can provide dispatchers with your addresses, medical information, home information, description of pets and vehicles, and emergency contacts in an emergency situation.

Individuals can provide as much or as little information as they choose, and 911 center manager Peter Callahan said the app is 100 percent compatible with the RAVE system used by the dispatch center.

Callahan believes mass notification system like RAVE and Smart911 are key during an emergency event.

“We live in a culture that is dominated by mobile technology,” said Callahan, “people now are demanding the information as soon as possible.”

Callahan added the app is very easy to use, takes about 5 minutes to set up and is a great tool for emergency services.

“I understand people’s reservations,” said Callahan,”Sensitivity towards privacy and not wanting to disclose information. But as a public safety official I can’t over-stress the importance of being signed up for mass notification.”

The Lewis and Clark-Helena 911 dispatch center recommends all cell phones be registered with a mass alert system like RAVE or Smart911.

Emergency officials would also like to let the public know that on Thursday September 20, 2018 at 12:18 PM MST the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with FCC will be conducting its first nation-wide test of the wireless emergency alert (WEA) system.

The WEA system is a local and presidential tool used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.

Every cell phone with in range of a cell tower will receive the test alert at the same time and this is the first time WEA has been used in Lewis and Clark County..

Callahan reminds the public that this will only be a test and there is no need to contact 911 about it. For more information about the alert visit here.

UPDATE FROM FEMA: Due to severe weather across much of the East Coast and ongoing response efforts, the national emergency alert test has been postponed to the backup date of Oct. 3, 2018 at 2:18 PM EDT.