‘help man with gun in house’: Six years of text-to-911 service
By John Kearney
Six years ago this month—on June 9, 2009—the Black Hawk County, Iowa, Consolidated Communications Center received the first successful test of a text-to-911 message in the country. I wanted to stop for a moment to recognize this important anniversary of this event, which was supported by Intrado’s initial TXT29-1-1® service.
At the time, the simple text of “help man with gun in house” was considered a breakthrough for the speech and hearing-impaired community. Today, a text-to-911 message is the best alternative to a voice 911 call in emergency situations..
Intrado has helped enable more than 500 PSAPs with text capabilities, and wireless carriers provide text-to-911 support where available.
There are still challenges ahead, including improving funding to upgrade current 911 systems and increasing the public’s awareness about this capability in their jurisdictions. Still, milestones like these remind me what a privilege it is to be part of a community that works collaboratively to leverage every available technology in the interest of public safety.
Remember, calling 9-1-1 is always best. Call if you can, text if you can’t.
John Kearney is a vice president/general manager of the Intrado Mobility Division.