OKLAHOMA CITY – Emergency dispatch, 911, is the backbone to keeping citizens safe.
Right now, most centers only take voice calls but that is about to change.
Starting May 15, some emergency call centers in our state will be able to handle 911 texts.
Oklahoma City is one taking the next step.
However, officials say it could take several years before Oklahoma City’s system is fully capable of accepting text messages.
The FCC is requiring carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon to start supporting texting 911.
Voice calls are still the best way to go about it but in some situations texts may be needed.
“Texting 911 will enable people who can’t speak or who are otherwise unable to speak and tell the 911 operator what’s going on,” EMSA’s Frank Gresh said.
Or it can help if the victim is in a sticky situation.
“For instance, an assailant in the house or an assault situation where the person has locked themselves in a closet or under a bed,” Gresh said.
At this point, it isn’t available everywhere because it may require upgrades to local 911 centers and coordination between wireless companies.
If it’s not in your area now, it is on the way.