Chicago unveils 'SMART911' to provide info to first responders

Next time you call 911, first responders plan to be smarter when they show up to help.

On Wednesday, Chicago unveiled a smart 911 system that they say will provide vital information to emergency responders. City leaders hope it will de-escalate tense situations and save lives.

When firefighters race to a burning home or police to a crime scene, they often don't know what they're getting into.

“It's difficult for them to walk in blindly to a situation, this will provide some context,” said CPD First Deputy Anthony Riccio.

That context coming from the smart 911 system city leaders just unveiled. You can create a safety profile that operators will see if you call 911.

Then even if your call drops, operators can pinpoint your home's location and layout, how many people live there, whether you have pets, plus any crucial health information like mental illness, Alzheimer’s or Autism.

“Uploading a photo and physical description of your loved one makes them easier to locate during an emergency,” said OEMC Executive Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.

With Chicago police undergoing de-escalation training, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the extra info could calm tense situations.

“That's going to allow the officer to not only distinguish mental health from a crime scene, but approach it with a different set of training on how to de-escalate that situation rather than to use force or something else that will kick in,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

About 75 percent of 911 calls come from cell phones which can make it tough for 911 operators to pinpoint your exact location, when seconds count.

“Every second counts during an emergency - accurate and concise information will allow us to save time and as we all know time saves lives,” said Chicago Fire Commissioner Richard Ford.

Chicago becomes the largest city to get a smart 911 system, but it only works if people participate. Go to to sign up.