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North Andover has adopted a new Smart911 system that allows people to create personal profiles that send information to first-responders when they call 911.
The system also targets messages to specific populations during emergencies, and has a more robust call function.
Whether through the portal on the town’s emergency management site (northandoverma.gov/emergency) or through the Smart911 app, residents, business owners or people who work in town can add information that could help responders with a 911 call.
Users can note any medical conditions they or members of their household or business have, mobility issues, whether they have difficulty communicating in English, and if they are at risk for domestic violence. Emergency contacts, preferred providers, and information about vehicles and pets in a home can also be added to the profile.
Information about the home or building can be listed, such as a photo, nearest hydrant location, the color of the building, and whether a gate or access code is required to gain entry to the building.
North Andover home landlines are being migrated from the town’s former BlackBoard Connect system into the new system, but users can add mobile and business numbers and choose which alerts to receive and how.
The profile information of Smart911 users appears on the dispatcher’s screen when they call 911, said Chris McClure, the town’s information technology director.
“Because it’s a nationwide application, there are benefits to people who don’t even live in North Andover,” McClure said. “If you own a business or are just passing through, if you have the mobile app and you’ve registered with location awareness, if you call 911 in any community in the nation that supports Smart911, that information can be passed along.”
McClure added that those registered with a mobile phone and app will also receive alerts sent by North Andover Emergency Management when passing through the area.
Registered information allows the town to target responses during different types of emergencies. For example, during an extended power outage, the town can target people who are identified as being on life support. The information stays private. Those sending messages don’t see the list of names, but the system will identify the people who should receive a message.
McClure said the program also has a more robust emergency notification system, with the ability to push out a large volume of calls at once and to detect busy signals and adjust as necessary.