This is an exciting and dynamic time for Public Safety!The ability for citizens to send text-based requests for assistance to 9-1-1 and related conversations with the PSAP has moved from an idea to reality. PSAPs across the country are building standard operating procedures and requesting wireless carriers to deliver any texts with the short code 9-1-1 to their text control center provider so they may be routed to their PSAP.
This change raises concerns for many – the perception is that texting-to-9-1-1 and related conversations between a citizen and a PSAP will be VERY different! Will it? Location is still provided; the information can be integrated with voice calls; call notes are still valuable; and the request for assistance still arrives at a PSAP.
Maybe it seems to be so different because we know that texting to 9-1-1 is just the first piece of Next Gen 9-1-1 and what follows seems like an even bigger undertaking. Is it really? It is actually very simple – Next Gen 9-1-1 is the move from narrowband to broadband IP – not that much of a change.
Maybe the volume of messages/calls seems different. Think about how we often – within the same hour – talk on the phone; send, receive & read emails; send, receive & read texts; post to social media sites; and watch media on the Internet. We don’t even stop to think about how quickly we added these functions with very little pain!
And so I wonder – is text-to-9-1-1 so different? Maybe not.
You know what really makes a difference? The new capabilities available to help save lives in many different ways … perhaps we could substitute the word “better” for “different”!