When minutes and even seconds matter in a fast moving wildfire situation, information is vital for firefighters to be able to effectively communicate with residents in the path of the fire.

Smart 9-1-1 is the tool that can make the difference for homeowners who must be apprised of the fastest and safest way out of the area. Missoula County Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck describes the program.

“Missoula County Emergency Management makes software available free to the public that allows people to register their cell phones to their address for emergency alerts that come from the Missoula 9-1-1 Center,” said Beck. “It’s generated by officials in the field for evacuation notices, or any kind of immediate information that needs to be conveyed to those impacted citizens.”

Beck said Smart 9-1-1 also provides a way for emergency responders to be prepared for whatever medical emergency might transpire in your family.

“It also allows for people to create what we call a safety profile, that is unique to them and their family that allows for the transfer of additional information for that household to emergency responders in the event of a 9-1-1 call from one of those registered phones.”

Beck said registrations for Smart 9-1-1 closely follow emergencies in the community, such as the recent flooding of rivers in western Montana.

“We used what are called ‘rave alerts’ which is a component of Smart 9-1-1 to issue emergency alerts to those impacted neighborhoods that needed to be evacuated, and for changing conditions.”

Smart 9-1-1 is for cell phones only. To register your phone and set up a safety profile, click here.