Wireless companies are stepping up to help address this issue. For example, starting July 8th, citizens in Minnesota will get a bounce-back message if they text 9-1-1. The message will advise them that texting doesn’t work in this area and they need to call instead. All the major cell phone carriers are working with Minnesota Public Safety to educate the public and prevent a miscommunication tragedy. Until texting to 9-1-1 becomes universal, any area that does not offer this service should have bounce-back messages.
As the private sector integrates more and more into the public sector, I’m hoping programs, services and technology will continue to advance and help those of us in public safety communications do our jobs better. Programs that give us more information faster, help us triage medical calls and let citizens know when we cannot accept texts-to-911 make sitting at the console a bit easier. As we go into a future with lots of changes, I anticipate companies will continue to help the first first responders be successful and do what we do best-save lives.