911 texting in Iowa useful

Recently, Iowa initiated a program that would help text messages sent to the emergency services to be recognized and answered, potentially saving more lives. Now, 911 will accept text messages as well as picture and video messages.

The verdict?

Dispatchers, emergency service personnel, and many residents find the system to be a very good idea, and it works great as well.

911 text messages are not knew for Waterloo, Iowa, but before the recent system was in place, it was a little more difficult to answer the text messages. Now, it is an easier process to correspond with people who have reason to text instead of call 911.

Since the new system was adopted in 2011, the responders have discovered that there are many people with more of a reason to text instead of call 911, but need just as much assistance.

For example, texts have been received such as the following, according to the CBS News website:

"I want 2 kill myself...will you pls help me?"

"Boyfriend punched me...He would hurt me more if I call."

In both of these instances, the text message format was a much easier one. Responders were able to contact police and get help for both individuals who would not or would not be able to call 911 and receive help.

Today, only a few states in the nation will accept text messages to 911. Iowa was the first in 2009. Many states still do not support the idea because it is very expensive to keep running, and emergencies are a time when someone needs to be speaking.

Despite the criticism, 911 text messaging is well on its way. Many wireless phone carriers support the idea as well.
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