MENOMINEE — Most 911 calls are made with cell phones, and of course, there is now an app for that. The Menominee County E-911 will be releasing the Smart911 app on Monday, which will help the county’s emergency services better provide for its residents and visitors.

Smart911 is a free smartphone app that allows a person to provide personal and medical information to be accessed by a 911 operator and emergency personnel in the case of an emergency.

The website states that cell phones, without this app, provide much less information to 911 operators than landlines.

“When you dial 911 from a mobile phone, the 911 call takers have very little information to help you — only your phone number and a very general sense of your location,” the release said. It states this app can help fill in the information gaps and provide even more information which will aid emergency responders in providing their services to the community.

Smart911 is available in several states and cities throughout the United States; after it is fully implemented in Menominee County, it will be available throughout the entire Upper Peninsula. 

The amount of information provided to the app is up to the user. Menominee County 911 director, Brian Barrette, said that there is no limit to how much information a person provides the app with, but encourages people to provide as much as possible.

The information the app asks for includes the user’s full name, residence and medical history. A user can also input information about other members of the household, emergency contacts and any other detail which may aid an emergency responder in the case of an emergency.

“There is a lot of information that can help 911,” Barrette said. He added that every piece of information, no matter how small it seems, can help the county’s emergency services.

“If you have a dog that may be aggressive to strangers, that’s something to put in the app because if a firefighter or police officer needs to enter the home they’ll want to know about that,” Barrette said.

The Smart911 website encourages people of all demographics to use the app, but especially encourages seniors, people with disabilities and people with chronic illnesses to use the app.

“If someone has a long medical history, it is always helpful that 911 knows about it because we can pass that information along to those responding to a medical emergency,” Barrette said. “Or, if a person has specific needs because of a disability or a chronic illness, we will know about it before we even get to the scene.”

The personal information given to the app is secure and will not be shared with anyone. This information can only be accessed by 911 call takers and emergency personnel, and only in the case of an emergency. The app is password protected, so even if another person has access to your phone, your information will remain secure. 

Smart911’s website also ensures that “your information is stored in geo-redundant databases that restrict access to everyone — including Rave Mobile Safety employees.” 

“Your safety profile is non-searchable and your information will only be displayed to 911 dispatchers for a limited amount of time,” the website states on its Frequently Asked Questions page.

Barrette encouraged everyone in and near Menominee County to download this app onto their smartphones. He said that it can aid residents, people visiting the area and even people in Marinette County, whose 911 calls may be picked up by Menominee County towers. 

“The cell towers don’t always stop at the border, Menominee County sometimes gets Marinette calls and Marinette County sometimes gets Menominee calls,” Barrette said. “If our towers pick up a Marinette call, and the caller has this app, it will still work.” 

“If you’re visiting the area and have the app, your information will still be sent to our dispatch in the case of an emergency,” he added. It can also be useful to people who travel, because the app will be usable in any county that uses its services, regardless of the 911 caller’s residence. 

“This app can also be helpful for hunters,” Barrette said. “If a person is out hunting and does not return home on time, the app can track a person’s path by 911 so we know his path and can even find him if he or she is in danger.”

Barrette encourages people to download the app, which will be utilized in Menominee County beginning Monday.  Setting a profile up can take between 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much information a user chooses to provide. All information can be updated and changed after a profile is created.  

More information can be found at Smart911.com.