Apr 15, 2013 5:34 PM by Jessica Holley - email@example.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - 911 call centers will soon be able to receive emergency calls through text messaging. This technology is not completely in place in Corpus Christi, but 911 call takers are anxiously awaiting its arrival.
It's the next wave of technology for 911 call centers across the country. Soon, the centers will not only receive emergency phone calls, but will also have texting capabilities. Officials at Corpus Christi's Metrocom, the 911 call center, says they are just waiting on cell phone carriers to begin using the software they have in place.
Last Friday, the top four wireless carriers in the U.S. agreed to speed up their efforts to support text-to-911 capabilities. Even though the system isn't up and running it's estimated 13,000 texts are sent to 911 each year but most are never received. That will change when text to 911 comes online. The system will allow emergency operators to be able to text back to their callers.
Cheryl Daubs, a supervisor for Metrocom, says text-to-911 is a huge step forward in technology and will be vital during times of disaster.
"You could give your location, you give your room number, how many people are in the room, you could provide a lot of information. And then of course if you have the capability at the center they can actually correspond with you," says Daubs.
And that's one of the drawbacks to this technology, since the message is coming from a cell phone and not a land line an exact location is not given just cell tower address.
"Give us your location, if we know where you are we can send you any kind of help, but if we don't know where you are we can't help you," says Daubs.
She wants to remind people that texting 911 would be a complement to, not a replacement for calling 911.
The FCC estimates the text to 9-1-1 service will be available by May 15, 2014. The agency is also looking at using cell phones and texts as a resource to share information about emergency situations with public safety officials.