Many Area Localities Preparing For Text 911 - WSET.com - ABC13

Many Area Localities Preparing For Text 911

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Roanoke, VA - Emergency management around the region are making efforts to update E 911 systems that will soon allow users to text 911. Henry County has used this system since February, saying it has worked a dozen of times effectively. 

Most recently the system worked on Tuesday when a woman summoned authorities during an assault incident where she was unable to make a call for fear her alleged assailants would know.

Arrests were made. 

Other communities are also getting ready but are waiting on the mobile carriers.  The big issue is they need to upgrade their technology.  Then there has also been significant complacency that has finally been reversed by the FCC. 

The Federal Communication Commission gave those carriers until the end of May to at least get working on the issues.

Right now, just Verizon is wired for text 9-1-1, according to Martinsville-Henry County Communications Supervisor, J.R. Powell. Powell's system has been "live" since February. 

Roanoke City, and Roanoke, Botetourt and Franklin Counties are all working to make the change. 

This technology is meant primarily for the deaf and emergency situations where a call can't be made because the system has a drawback.

"Text message is not a guaranteed delivery to the 9-1-1 centers and it was never designed to use as emergency communications," said Mike Crockett who manages Roanoke's E9-1-1 Center.

Lynchburg Public Safety told ABC 13 Friday that they are aware of the system and are looking at it, but have no plans to implement it in the near future.
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