FAIRMONT — In an emergency, every second counts.

That’s why Marion County emergency officials are using a new program they hope will improve response times to 911 calls.

During Wednesday’s Marion County Commission meeting, Chris McIntire, the director of the Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, announced Marion County is the first in the state to use the program Smart911.

“It’s going to help save lives,” he said.

Smart911 is a program used by 911 dispatchers to help decrease response times of emergency crews. The program is used by citizens creating a profile of themselves for information, including family member data, photos, medical conditions and exact addresses.

McIntire said when people call 911 and they have a Smart911 profile, their data automatically displays on the dispatcher’s screen. The information then allows dispatchers to communicate the caller’s information to crews.

McIntire said it’s about a 10-minute process to fill out a profile, and citizens will be able to update it if necessary.

McIntire said one of the benefits of creating a profile is that the information can be accessed through any county or city in the United States that uses Smart911.

“If you have an emergency while in another state and that area uses this, they can access your information for a better response,” he said.

McIntire said as of Wednesday, citizens can start creating profiles, which are free. To create a Smart911 profile, visit www.marioncounty911.org and follow the Smart911 button.

In other business:

• Commissioners approved to allocate up to $2,000 to Green Kids West Virginia Inc. The organization is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program serving elementary, middle and high school students.

The money will pay for invoices the organization receives for the purchase of robotic equipment.

• The next commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the J. Harper Meredith Building.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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