Hearing and speech-impaired members of the community, as well as those in a position where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1 now have a new option to call for help in an emergency – Text to 911.
The new Text-to-911 capability went into live operation for Gulf, Franklin and Calhoun counties who are served by the Tri-County Regional 9-1-1 system beginning in May 2016, with the last carrier live on the system July 29, 2016.
This service provides an alternative method of communicating with emergency service providers for those who cannot safely call 9-1-1, who have a speech disability or who are deaf.
The Tri-County Regional System, was the first regional Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) system in operation in the state of Florida. The Solacom system went into operation in July 2011 and has consistently provided efficient, reliable and cost-effective service to the counties within the region.
(Call when you can; text when you can’t. Learn More about Text to 911, courtesy of Rutgers Today and YouTube)
The newly available service fully integrates text call answering within the Solacom user interface – not as a separate program using a web-based application.
This integration provides 9-1-1 call takers with a single interface to handle all call types, greatly enhancing familiarity and ease of use. Statistical information, call history and other system data is tracked within the system as it would be for a voice call, providing consolidated call information whenever needed.
“Call if you can, text if you can’t,” said Ben Guthrie, 9-1-1 Coordinator for Gulf County and Florida 9-1-1 Board Member. “The counties and PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) are proud to be adding this important enhancement to our system.”
“For those living in or visiting our communities, who are in a situation where it is either too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, or have a disability that makes it ineffective, this provides another important method to reach public safety.”
“Due to the Guardian NG9-1-1 architecture, adding the new functionality was a matter of a simple update to our latest software. No additional servers or other expensive upgrades were required,” said Mr. Guthrie.
Dialing 9-1-1 and speaking directly to 9-1-1 personnel in an emergency is always the best method to request help. For most citizens, sending a text to 9-1-1 should not replace making a telephone call.
There are scenarios, however, where it is appropriate, such as when the caller is unable to speak due to a medical condition, when speaking will put the caller in some degree of danger, such as during an abduction, domestic violence, or active shooter scenario. The hearing impaired community will also benefit from this service.
Solacom designs and manufactures communication systems utilized in critical and life-supporting operations that incorporate voice, video and data applications, as they are required for Public Safety.
With a legacy of innovation in air traffic control and public safety communications, their engineers have pioneered many industry advances over the past 30 years.