News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director | Sara Sooy, Commissioner Deputy Director

Melonie Marano, Commissioner | Paul Drake, Commissioner | Doug Singleterry, Commissioner

April 16, 2021

Somerset County Recognizes Public Safety Telecommunications Week and Encourages Residents to Sign up for Smart911™

SOMERVILLE, NJ – In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, County Commissioner Douglas Singleterry recently toured the Somerset County 911 Communications Center to meet staff and learn more about the county’s emergency telecommunications and national Smart911™ program.

“I was very impressed with our staff and the setup at our 911 Call Center. Although they are not visible to the public, 911 operators are literally the first responders in an emergency. They gather key information and help the caller until emergency personnel get to the scene,” said County Commissioner Douglas Singleterry, public health and safety liaison.

“One important message I want to pass along is that our 911 operators are asking Somerset County residents to sign up for Smart911™, a free application that will help cut response time for mobile callers. In an emergency when seconds count, Smart911™ helps first responders locate you more quickly,” said Commissioner Singleterry.  “The system also lets users create a Safety Profile for members of the household, including pets. You can put in as much or as little information as you want. Your data is secure and only temporarily available when you call 911.”

The free Smart911 mobile app can be downloaded at the App Store or Google Play. In addition to the app, a Safety Profile can be created online at

More than 85 percent of calls to 911 come from cell phones. Without Smart911, identifying a mobile caller’s location is limited to cell tower triangulation and any details the caller can provide. Smart911 links personal cell phone numbers to home addresses and vehicles. Even if you call from somewhere other than your residence, the technology provides 911 operators with a greater ability to determine an accurate location, which could make a difference between life and death in an emergency.

The Smart911 system lets residents create a Safety Profile with critical information about the household. When an individual calls 911, their Safety Profile transmits directly to 911 operators, enabling the communications center to share critical details with first responders before they arrive at the scene. For example, firefighters responding to a house fire will have the advantage of knowing how many people and pets live there and who might need assistance getting out of the house.

The information is completely secure.  No one, including police or government personnel, can look at Safety Profiles except during a response to a 911 call.

The Somerset County 911 Communications Center currently is the 911 answering point for every Somerset County municipality except Franklin and Warren Townships.

While those municipalities have their own 911 systems that are outside of the county’s network, calls sometimes overflow to the county’s system and the Smart911 data will then be made available. This will also be true for any mobile devices that are registered and are within the county’s network area when traveling and when a 911 call is placed.

In addition, the data will be made available to any 911 center across the nation that also utilizes the Smart911 system if a 911 call is placed while within their jurisdiction. This means that even on vacation, vital life-saving information could be available in an emergency. The current number of agencies across the US is over 1,500 911 centers.

Safety profiles could include critical information that will help responders keep your family safe, including:

  • Information about where you live, what type of structure it is, exterior color, number of floors and bedrooms in the home.
  • Number of people who live there, how to contact them, the ages of individuals, photos of children, etc.
  • Existing medical conditions of residents with chronic issues, a list of medications and allergies, people with mobility issues and any other conditions that emergency responders should know about.
  • A list of pets and service animals along with their names to help responders locate them.
  • Emergency Contacts – family and friends who should be contacted in an emergency.
  • Vehicle Information – make, model, license plate numbers, etc.
  • In addition, photographs can be added to any of the above information categories.

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