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First In The Nation Text To 9-1-1 Available In The Brazos Valley

The Brazos Valley is the first in the nation where cell phone users can send a text to reach 9-1-1.

Anita Pitts with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) says texts can be sent from the four major wireless carriers in Leon, Robertson, Madison, Grimes, Burleson, and Washington counties.

The service will be available in Brazos County later this year.

Pitts says text to 9-1-1 will benefit those who aren’t able to speak, including those who have to remain quiet for their safety.

Pitts if possible, call 9-1-1 when you can and text when you can’t. In either case, give your location and the nature of your emergency.

Click below for comments from Anita Pitts to BVCOG members and reporters on August 10, 2016.

081016-Text-To-9-1-1-information.mp3

 

Additional information from BVCOG:

Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) Regional 9-1-1 Program is pleased to announce the availability of Text-to-9-1-1 service in Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington counties. Text to 9-1-1 is a service that will allow citizens to send a text message directly to 9-1-1 for assistance in the event it is not possible to make a voice call.

BVCOG Regional 9-1-1 Program participated in a beta project to be the first in the nation to deploy an integrated text message native to the 9-1-1 equipment – not a web application or TTY method. In June of 2015, the first integrated 9-1-1 text message was sent to Washington County 9-1-1 and completed the first step towards next generation 9-1-1. Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that participated in the Text-to-9-1-1 beta project were Washington County 9-1-1, Burleson County Sheriff’s Office, Grimes County Sheriff’s Office and the Navasota Police Department. After six months of testing the beta project was considered a success and the remaining 3 counties have deployed Text-to-9-1-1 capabilities – Leon, Madison and Robertson County Sheriff’s Offices.

Citizens do not need to add or update their cell phone to use the service. Simply send a text as you would normally. In the recipient field enter 911, compose the message and push send. The system BVCOG is using is called VESTA® 9-1-1. Once you send your text, the VESTA 9-1-1 system sends an automated message asking the texter the address of the emergency. This starts the text session between 9-1-1 and the texter.

Text to 9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency situation, when someone is unable to speak. For instance, if the person is deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would put the citizen in danger. Text-to-9-1-1 provides a silent alternative in cases such as a child abduction, active shooter or domestic abuse. In times of cellular network congestion – such as hurricanes or other disasters – phone calls don’t always connect, so texting may offer a viable option.

Things to know about texting 9-1-1: 9-1-1 needs to know your exact location and the nature of your emergency. Use simple language; no abbreviations or slang. DO NOT TEXT and DRIVE! Pull over to a safe location before sending a text to 9-1-1. If you can, call 9-1-1. It takes longer to get all the information when communicating through text messages. Currently you can only Text-to-9-1-1 to the four major wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless™. You will receive a ‘bounce back’ message telling you to make a voice call if you are in an area where the service is not available 9-1-1.

Program Information: The Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) Regional 9-1-1 program has 7 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in 6 counties surrounding Brazos County. The Regional 9-1-1 program includes PSAPs in Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington counties and the City of Navasota. It does not include the cities of Bryan, College Station, Wixon Valley or Brazos County. Brazos County and its cities are scheduled to deploy Text-to-9-1-1 service by the end of this year. If you are in a service area that has not deployed Text-to-9-1-1 you will receive a bounce back message asking you to call 9-1-1 for emergency services.

BVCOG 9-1-1 program coordinator Anita Pitts speaks to COG members and the media August 10, 2016.

BVCOG 9-1-1 program coordinator Anita Pitts speaks to COG members and the media August 10, 2016.

Short URL: http://wtaw.com/?p=107638

Posted by on Aug 11 2016. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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