By SUZANNE SWEETEN / Voice correspondent

“9-1-1, what’s the nature of your emergency?”
Ronnie Weaver, director of operations for LifeNet in Hot Springs Village, wants Village residents to answer without hesitation, “I’m in Hot Springs Village.”
“More and more of our citizens are getting rid of their land lines and using only their cell phones. A 9-1-1 operator must know the exact location within Hot Springs Village because a cell call might ping (land lines go directly to local dispatchers) on a tower in Little Rock or Hot Springs and delay response time. Callers should hear a few clicks, forwarding the call to HSV dispatch. It’s imperative to remain on the line; no one is being cut off.”
Weaver, his paramedics and emergency medical personnel are a welcome sight in the event of an emergency. Weaver and Tina Bell, LifeNet’s director of public relations and marketing, stress the need for Villagers to acquaint themselves and register their household with Smart911 and business facility with the Rave Panic Button.
A Smart911 profile contains only the information supplied after a questionnaire (go to smart911.com/how-it-works to learn more details) is filled out. The service is free and offers Arkansans an opportunity to enhance their existing 9-1-1 features. Smart911 gives 9-1-1 operators the ability to determine the caller’s address, medical information, home information, description of pets and vehicles, and emergency contacts.
“Smart911 provides first responders with vital information which saves time and more importantly, lives,” Weaver’s speaking from his medical, hands-on perspective.
Bell adds her practical spin, “Supply only the information you want to share, it’s safe and it’s confidential. Smart 911 helps not only our medical teams but police officers and firefighters too. Smart911 is a win-win situation for the 9-1-1 caller and their first responders.”
The Rave Panic Button is a vital aside to Smart911. Recently HSV Police Chief Ricky Middleton featured J.P. French, RAVE director of strategic accounts, in his most recent “Coffee with the Chief” program. French’s presentation included Smart911 but also defined the Rave Panic Button. RPB is a phone app with five emergency buttons. By pushing one of these buttons 9-1-1 is dialed immediately and simultaneously alerting co-workers to a serious threat. Facility profiles are created for schools, office buildings and organizations.
Middleton already spends a great deal of time educating Villagers on safety and building relationships within the Village. “Communicating with our residents is hard to do because we’re so spread out,” Middleton said from his office as his officers are on duty out in the field.
“I’m working on bettering communications with HSV residents by speaking to various clubs and organizations in the Village. All our programs are free. For instance Vacation Watch. Sign up before you go away and the department swings by regularly to check out the house.
“The Code Red (onsolv.com to register) is a reverse dial out call sending out emergency information like Silver Alerts, tornado warnings and other emergent situations.
Fire Chief Jason Miller senses the public isn’t aware of what his 20 HSVFD in four different stations do when they aren’t fighting fires. “I think most people feel we’re just sitting around here but we’re out performing a lot of different tasks,” said Miller.
“We maintain the Village’s 1,600 fire hydrants, about 500 a year. It takes four years to get to all of them and we’re constantly testing the 2,400 feet of hose on each of our four trucks. Another chore is performing fire inspections on commercial buildings and there are approximately 350 of those is the community. The Rotary Club donated 21 fire detectors and we’ve installed those in area homes. The program has really taken off with Rotary involvement. So far, I think they’ve donated about 75 and their lithium batteries. It’s our job to help them out.
“During Fire Prevention Week we do smoke trailer shows. We go visit Fountain Lake and Jessieville elementary schools. The children learn kitchen safety, how to evacuate the home, Stop-Drop-and-Roll and fireplace safety. Working with the children is great.
“Of course, we still respond with Life Net and we provide lift assists, deal with strokes, cardiac and respiratory issues, basically anything the 911 operators send us.”
Learn more about Smart911 or the Rave Panic Button because every second counts.