New 911 technology could cut response times in Hamilton County

CINCINNATI --  Hamilton County emergency dispatchers take a lot of calls -- more than 500,000 last year -- and county officials are hoping a new system that provides first responders with more information could improve their accuracy and response time come January.

The new system will allow people in the community to go online or call in information about themselves for a database for dispatchers and first responders. That includes information like addresses, medical conditions and calming techniques for children with special needs.

Dispatchers will see the information and relay it to police right when the call comes in.

"The ability to be in the system, and have the information no matter where you are, is the greatest piece about this," 911 Advisory Board Chair Dan Meloy said.

For Michelle Richards, who calls Colerain police often because of violent tendencies from her two autistic sons, it's a relief.

"Rather than coming in blindly, they can come in knowing what his comfort is, what will trigger him," Richards said.

The Hamilton County program was inspired by a similar initiative in Colerain that Richards participated in. In that program, residents could meet with police officers and share similar information to what's included in the upcoming county program.

Andrew Knapp with the Hamilton County Department of Communications said the program would also shorten response time. If someone called 911 and failed to give a location, first responders could use the information from that person's 911 call profile online and figure out exactly what floor or department the caller was in, shaving minutes.

"Seconds save lives and dispatchers save seconds," Knapp said.

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