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Verizon users in Douglas soon can text to 911
by Bill Baldowski
June 18, 2014 04:36 PM | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Verizon Wireless customers living in Douglas County will soon be able to text public safety personnel to report emergencies without uttering a word.

Tim Lorello, spokesman for TeleCommunications Systems Inc. said all four of the major wireless carriers have agreed to provide emergency text messaging services to its Douglas County customers. Verizon expects to have its service available to its customers possibly by the fall.

TeleCommunication Systems Inc. is the company chosen by Verizon to set up the infrastructure to establish a 911 text messaging service in Douglas County.

Greg Whitaker, director of Douglas County E-911, said advances in communications technology change emergency 911 communications methods every couple of years.

“People are changing the way they dial 911 and the way they communicate with the 911 operator,” he said. “One of those ways is through texting and we want to have the infrastructure in place for people to do that in Douglas County.”

Lorello said Verizon has been working on a 911 text service capability for its customers for two years.

This service, he said, would allow customers to text a county 911 emergency operator and give them, through a text message, all the necessary information for a quick response.

It would prove useful in a number of situations, including assisting those with hearing difficulties or hearing loss; or any life-threatening situation in which communicating verbally with an operator would add to the danger.

Lorello said being able to text a 911 emergency operator rather than calling could mean the difference between eluding the intruder until police arrive or the intruder finding that individual’s hiding place.

“Texting is silent and far safer as no words need to be spoken,” Lorello said.

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