Related Story

COLUMBIA - September marks the beginning of National Preparedness Month. This month is dedicated to preparing individuals for possible emergency situations.

Boone County Fire Protection District Captain Martina Pounds said this is a great for way people to be prepared for whatever life throws at them.

"It is a tool for us to remind people to make a plan, practice that plan and make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency," Pounds said.

Pounds said one of the best ways for people to prepare for emergency situations is by registering for the free Smart911 system. This system allows an individual to go online and fill out his or her personal information so that first-responders have a better idea of what to prepare for when heading to an emergency situation.

When a 911 call is made, the dispatcher is able to look up the individual's information without having to waste time discussing it over the phone.

"Smart911 is a tool for citizens to log onto and give their information to the 911 operator about their home or people they might live with," Pounds said.

Pounds said the added information the rescue team receives is vital to a speedy response because not everyone is familiar with the surrounding area. She said it is beneficial for everyone to be in the Smart911 system but it is super helpful for the areas that are not often visited.

"Everybody is encouraged to do that but a lot of times it's for people that live in the rural areas maybe where houses are harder to find and give specific landmarks that responders might be able to look at," Pounds said.

Pounds said she encourages everyone to sign up for the system because it is a safe, free and easy way for first responders to understand the situation at hand before arriving on the scene.