MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

June 12, 2014

Text-to-911 offers advantages

Muskogee County has the chance to be the first 911 call center in the state to deploy text-to-911 capability, and county officials should make that happen.

The Muskogee City-County E911 center has the capacity to receive emergency texts but does not have the connectivity.

Connectivity must be provided by a government-created network or by leasing a commercially available network.

That creates a cost for officials to consider.

But, barring an astronomical cost to deploy the capability to text in an emergency, county officials should do all they can to make that happen.

We live in a quickly changing environment, especially when it comes to technology and electronics.

It wasn’t that long ago that cell phones were the thing of the future. Now, many people do not even own a landline.

Texting has become an integral part of communication in our world.

Muskogee City-County E911 Coordinator Darryl Maggard says he can see a time when people will be able to send photos and videos to the center.

That sounds like another way to ensure people get the help they need in a hurry.

For instance, we can envision a time when a person can send a video to E911. A trained emergency medical technician could then better assess the situation and provide instructions for vital first aid before an ambulance arrives.

There are many benefits of text-to-911.

We hope officials can find the money to get that capability deployed quickly.

Text to 911

Positives:

• Hearing and speech impaired individuals benefit now from TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), but would also benefit from Text-to-911.

• During a major weather event, the voice pathways for cell phones can become jammed, but oftentimes texts can get through.

• In some situations an individual is unable to talk but could send a text.

Negatives:

• Extra time involved in texting back and forth to receive information.

• Dispatchers unable to hear background noise and urgency in the caller’s voice.

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