Written by Bill Vedra, Director of the Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center
September is National Preparedness Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of planning ahead for emergencies. It can be difficult to prepare for the unthinkable but the Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center (EEC), operating 24/7 every day of the year, has resources you can take advantage of to protect the ones you love. The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library also is offering CPR classes to help prepare you for an emergency.
Dialing 911 in a Digital World
Did you know that, if you call 911 from your cell phone, the 911 telecommunicator who answers the call may not have access to your name or address? But you can help fix that.
In today’s wireless world, 911 telecommunicators answer calls without knowing who is calling, or where they live. In most cases, the cell phone company sends a general GPS location, which can help us get first responders to the right street or general area. But what if you live in a big apartment building, or can’t flag the responders down? We need more than GPS to ensure you get help, and that is when having a Smart911 can save the day.
By creating a free Smart911 Safety Profile, opens a new window, you can enter lifesaving information about you and your family that pops up for that 911 telecommunicator if they answer a future call from any phone belonging to your household. You can download the free Smart911 app from the App Store or the Google Play Store today and set up your profile within minutes. Your information is ONLY available to 911 telecommunicators and responders ONLY in the event you call 911.
Smart911 helps us send the response to the right location by using the profile information, such as work and home addresses, medical conditions, pets, emergency contacts, etc. Depending on the type of phone you call 911 from, location data can be limited. Including your address in your profile allows the telecommunicator to compare GPS data to where you live and work, ensuring help gets to the right location.
Texting 911 If You Can't Speak
If you need help but cannot safely speak on the phone, or if you are unable to speak, you can use a mobile phone to send a text message to 911. Making a voice call is the best and fastest way to reach the 911 center. But you should text 911 if:
- you are deaf, heard of hearing, or have a speech disability.
- you are in a situation where it is not safe to make a voice call to 911 for help.
- you are having a medical emergency and cannot speak on the phone.
Text-to-911, opens a new window is available in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
To text 911, enter the number 911 into the “to” field. In the message field, text the exact location of the emergency, describe what kind of help you need, and press send. Prepare to respond to any further texts with questions or instructions from the 911 center.
Learning CPR at the Library
Learn more about emergency responses that can help save lives before help arrives. Cincinnati Firefighter Dan Wolf demonstrates how to perform hands-only CPR and to stop life-threatening bleeding during these classes offered at select Library branches. Registration is required and the classes are appropriate for ages 12 and older.
- 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Pleasant Ridge Branch
- 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the Oakley Branch
- 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at the College Hill Branch
- 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Westwood Branch
- 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Mt. Washington Branch