911 Texting Technology

911 Dispatch Executive Director, Charlie Broomhead
911 Dispatch Executive Director, Charlie Broomhead

If you are in an emergency and need help, there is no need to pick up the phone you can just text message to 911 call centers.

It can be a scary situation... You're home alone and you hear an intruder. You know they're in the home but do they know you are?  You're only quiet option send a text message to 911.

It's part of what is being called the next generation 911 and area 911 dispatchers are getting ready to to change analog systems to digital. In addition, 911 dispatchers are preparing to take text messages, video and audio all from cell phones.

911 Dispatch Executive Director, Charlie Broomhead says changes are coming and will start taking place in 2009. "911 will upgrade their equipment to be able to do this. Plus, we'll be able to receive cell phone calls with pictures... were people have been able to snap a picture of a fire, any kind of incident were people have to call," he said.

Broomhead wants you to know text messaging is the wave of the future.  "It's the way of the future It's what we are growing into," Broomhead said.

The new digital system is growing and developing, but some are apprehensive about the switch.

Local teen Maresha Lasitei says she is comfortable with just call in 911 in an emergency. "I'm not that good with text messaging anyway so I think it would be easier for me to call," she said.

Jaime Martinez agrees, "I would go with a traditional calling 911.  It's definitely a good option for people that don't have that opportunity," Martinez said.

The new system is expected to be completely changed over from analog to digital by 2010.   911 dispatch operators will start to undergo training for receiving text messages and video in 2009.