Thursday Dec 5
The Des Moines Register
Communities should copy Dubuque's new Smart 911
<![CDATA[The Des Moines Register editorial board is bestowing a rose each day in December in recognition of the good that is found across Iowa. (Send your rose recommendations to Editorial Writer Rox Laird at email@example.com.) -- Randy Evans, Opinion Editor A rose to Dubuque County and the city of Dubuque for offering a 911 emergency telephone system that lives up to its name. The "Smart 911" system allows residents to provide detailed information about, say, a resident's special health condition or additional contact information. This private information can be entered securely online, and it would then be available to dispatchers when handling a 911 emergency call from that address. This option could aid firefighters when residents include the location of bedrooms in their home and the number of occupants or pets. "When you have to call 911, you are dealing with an emergency situation and even the simplest of details can be difficult to communicate in a time of panic," Dubuque County Emergency Communication Manager Mark Murphy said. The service is optional and free. The Dubuque Police Department and the Dubuque County Sheriff's Department will split the $14,000 annual cost of the service. Other counties and communities should copy Dubuque County's service. This is an excellent use of technology to give first responders information that could ease their jobs, speed the arrival of help and save lives.
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