Limestone’s Smart-911 gets help for man too ill to speak

ATHENS, Ala. - It has been about three years now since the Limestone County 911 Board invested in the Smart 911 software for their system. Smart 911 allows residents to plan for an emergency by providing dispatchers with critical information before the emergency happens. And just recently, it paid off.

Brian Burrus and his wife visited the Limestone County 911 Center Thursday afternoon to say thank you.

“I started having seizures in 2012,” Brian explained.

Earlier this month he suffered a bad seizure while at home alone. It was several hours before he could get to his phone to call for help, and even then, he could barely talk.

“But I managed to hold the button down to get 911."

911 dispatcher Taylor Shores answered the call.

"911, what is the location of your emergency? Hello?"

“Think I’ve had…seizure."

“Ma’am, what's wrong?"

“I think I’ve had a seizure."

By that time, Shores had read the medical information about Burrus that came up on her screen as soon as the call was received. She immediately realized this was a medical emergency and dispatched an ambulance to the Burrus’ home.

“I relayed the information from his smart profile to them, she didn't ask any further questions because we had all the information we needed. My partner notified the Ardmore Police Department and paged the local responders who were there within six minutes,” Shores explained.

Brian's wife had signed them up for Smart 911 about a month earlier. Had she not, protocol would have required a police officer to respond first. Only then, after the officer determined it was a medical emergency, would EMS have been dispatched to the scene. It could have amounted to a difference of 20 minutes, or more. And it could have made the difference between life and death.

“It came out as a great example of why Smart 911 is so important in Limestone County,” said Limestone 911 CEO R.V. White.

Limestone County residents can customize their Smart 911 account, providing only what information you consider to be important for first responders in the event of an emergency.

While most people include medical information, you can also enter information about your pets, your children, where you hide a key to your home, anything you believe emergency responders might need to know. White points out your information remains private and is not available to dispatchers or anyone else until you dial 911.

The service is free but only available in Limestone County for now. For more information, visit smart911.com.