The City of Cincinnati recently launched Smart911, an emergency communication tool in response to the tragic death of local high school student, Kyle Plush. Plush died on April 10 of this year at the age of sixteen.
That day was just like any other day for sophomore Kyle. He was sitting in his car in the Seven Hills High School parking lot after school, getting ready to go to tennis practice. As Kyle turned toward the back of his minivan and leaned over the seat to grab his tennis bag, he was pinned by the third-row seat of his minivan. Kyle immediately called 911 using Siri on his iPhone, but the 911 dispatcher could not make out much of what he was saying.
Police arrived at the school’s parking lot, but could not locate Kyle. Approximately twenty minutes later, Kyle made another call to 911, but this time he provided the model of his vehicle – a 2004 Honda Odyssey. This information, however, never reached the police officers because the dispatcher said she did not hear it. As a result, the police officers left the scene.
At about 8pm that night, Kyle was found by his father, but first responders were unable to resuscitate him. Kyle’s death by asphyxiation due to chest compression was ruled accidental.
Several investigations into why Kyle could not be found even after two 911 calls did not result in a satisfactory explanation on why he could not be located and saved.
Three months after this tragic accident, as a result of the hard work of Kyle’s parents and inspiration from what happened to Kyle, Cincinnati launched the Smart911 app. Through this app, you can register your cell phone and provide emergency dispatchers with key information about yourself in the event that you dial 911 from your cell phone. Typically, when you call 911 from a cell phone, the call-takers only know your phone number and the general area where you are located. This can be a serious problem if you are in immediate need of assistance and unable to communicate clearly, as in Kyle’s case.
With Smart911, you can provide dispatchers with important additional information they may need in case of an emergency. When you call 911, your Smart911 profile will appear on the operator’s screen so that they have all of the information you provided. You can add as much or as little information as you would like to your profile, including the people living in your household, phone numbers associated with your family, pets, service animals, medical conditions and allergies, medications and medical equipment, property details, layout, and utility information, vehicle descriptions, and emergency contacts. You can also sign up to receive notifications or alerts about the weather, traffic, or other emergencies in your community.
Just a few weeks ago, I made my own Smart911 safety profile. Not only was it fast, but it was very easy to do. All you have to do is go to the Smart911 website, create an account, and answer as many questions as you would like. For my personal profile, I included my contact information, my parents’ contact information, home address, and a few other important details. I also requested notifications regarding storms and other important local conditions. Now that I’m sixteen and driving, it seems more important than ever to be aware of tools like Smart911 that can help keep me safe and connected to emergency assistance should I ever need it.