Today I was reminded that six years ago on June 9, 2009, Black Hawk County, Iowa received the first successful test of a 911 text message in the country, supported by our 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 9-1-1 call in emergency situations.
Over 500 PSAPS enabled with Text Capabilities
West has helped enable over 500 PSAPs with text capabilities, and wireless carriers provide 911 text 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.
Calling 911 is always best, but if you can’t, send a text.