Smart 911 system provides critical information to emergency responders

A cellphone user can pull up any number of apps that show the user’s location, but that’s often not what happens when someone calls 911.

A new system called Smart911 is aimed at trying to change that, making it easier for first responders to find and help callers during an emergency.

When 71-year-old Charles Romine called 911 in September he couldn't give dispatchers his exact location, and Dayton police were not able to find him. His body was found in Wolf Creek two days later.

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His grandson said the 911 system failed his family.

“We’re still hurting. It’s hard to look at pictures,” Darshawn Romine said.

The same thing happened to Kyle Plush in Cincinnati.

The teen’s case drew national attention.

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He called 911 with voice commands while he was pinned in back of a van, but police couldn’t find him. The 16-year-old suffocated before his dad found his body hours later.

GPS technology from cellphone towers is not advanced enough to track exact locations.

Hamilton County officials said the Smart 911 program they rolled out this week could have prevented Plush’s death.

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Plush’s family urged residents to sign up for the program. How it works is the users create a profile with a photo ID, medical information, emergency contacts and even the color, make and model of their vehicles. All that information is sent to dispatchers when the user calls 911 for help.

This program isn't widespread in the region yet.

Only Hamilton County and Butler County dispatch centers are using Smart 911 so far.

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