Delaware’s 911 call centers have begun accepting 9-1-1 text messages, which is seen as a big breakthrough in emergency-related technology in the state.
At an announcement this month where the State’s E911 Board rolled out the new feature, Governor John Carney conducted a live text demonstration to show the system’s enhanced capabilities.
In the future, the State’s emergency call center will also be able to accept other types of electronic data, including pictures and video. “This project also provides new technology that significantly improves operations for our 911 Centers, making emergency communication more reliable and efficient for our citizens and the public safety community,” said Safety and Homeland Security Robert Coupe.
The State’s 911 emergency communications system had always operated on copper lines. But with a recent investment in an internet-based system, there is more flexibility for communication and interoperability.
While “Text-to-911” is now available, voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911 in the event of an emergency. “Text-to-911” is meant for times when a call to 911 is not possible due to the caller being incapable of speech during an emergency, if the caller is hard of hearing, or if the caller is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call.
Texts should be in simple words with no emojis, abbreviations or slang. Texts should also not be included on a group conversation. The first text should be short and include the location of the emergency and ask for police, fire, or ambulance.