The confusion stems from a 2013 article detailing adoption of the service in a region of California. During a press conference, someone mentioned firearm information and the comment made it into the newspaper. “There is nothing that asks about guns,” Jessica Rose, Community Marketing Manager for Smart911 said in a phone interview. “There are, however, fields in which you can enter additional information that may be needed by critical responders.” The service allows homeowners to list pets that may be of concern in case of a fire, special needs of residents, vehicle license plates and provides areas to detail additional information of use to emergency personnel—potentially lifesaving information.
None of the fields, including your birth date, are mandatory. The system sends a message to phones that must be confirmed before your file is activated and available to emergency operators. You can cancel at any time on your computer without staff-member intervention.
Prior to the interview, Rose sent a link with complete details and there is nothing about firearms or even ammunition. “It’s all the same questions a 911 operator would ask,” Rose explained. The service is free to citizens, but the local emergency call center must subscribe. As for why people should enroll, she explained, “The 911 operator doesn’t get that much information on a cellular call and most come in this way.” It is also not uncommon for people to temporarily forget their home address when in a life-and-death situation, or even be unable to respond.
Rave Mobile Safety, a company with a decade-long track record of producing public-safety solutions, introduced Smart911 in 2010. One thousand communities in 38 states (including all of Arkansas) already use the system.The company is no novice at the approach, either, with its emergency notification system hard at work on 1,000 campuses nationwide.
There is another advantage for firearm owners. Upload a photo of yourself and law enforcementwith vehicular computers may have access to that image (depending on local “portal” policy). If you happen to be holding home invaders at gunpoint when authorities arrive, it could help defuse a dangerous situation. In addition, even if your local emergency services doesn’t subscribe, the information is available to authorities as you travel areas that do, like Washington, DC. In case of an accident, it could help speed emergency response.
The information is only accessible to authorities when you dial 9-1-1. “I think the biggest thing for people to realize is we’re not the government,” Rose explained, “the information goes into a database and it stays there until you make a 911 call. And you can delete your account at any point in time.” Some of the industry’s best software security systems are in place and, just in case, the firm has an independent audit conducted periodically.