By NICK HOLLOWAY
What should you do if there is a gunman on the loose in your neighborhood? Lock your doors and shelter in place, leave the area, or go home to check on your family? While uncommon, this very scenario occurred in Missoula not that long ago. To help warn citizens Missoula emergency officials have an emergency notification system in place called Smart911 that pushes out actionable information to people when they need it most, during an emergency.
You may have received an alert earlier this year asking that people keep their eyes open for a missing 9-year-old boy In Missoula. At the time, Missoula 9-1-1 delivered almost 2,300 geo-targeted emergency notifications alerting people to keep their eyes open. When the boy was found a short time later, 9-1-1 sent another message to let people know that the child was no longer missing.
While landlines are automatically entered in 9-1-1’s database for alerts cell phones are not, making it important for people to take the step to register their phones. Residents and visitors of Missoula can register their cell phones at www.smart911.com. While there you can also create a Safety Profile that includes critical care and household information about your family. Your Profile will pop up on a 9-1-1 dispatcher’s screen automatically when you call from a registered phone. This gives emergency responders the ability to tailor their response to meet your family’s needs.
Emergency preparedness doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. Smart911 is free and readily available to everyone. Responders all over Missoula County join the Office of Emergency Management in recommending this important tool to residents and visitors.
All disasters begin and end locally, often within the home. Prevention and preparation can go a long way to reduce negative human impacts. The Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) encourages Missoulians to:
1. Be informed. 2. Make a plan 3. Build a kit.
Follow OEM on Facebook and Twitter.
Nick Holloway is Programs Coordinator at the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). OEM includes the Missoula 9-1-1 Center and Disaster and Emergency Services, which assists and coordinates emergency response components of Missoula County and the City of Missoula. Nick is passionate improving disaster preparedness and resilience in Missoula. Follow OEM on Facebook and Twitter.