Iowa Completes First Phase of Text to 9-1-1 Program - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowa Completes First Phase of Text to 9-1-1 Program

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By Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

www.twitter.com/addieolson

Iowa just updated their 9-1-1 program to an IP system. What this means for Iowans is that they will eventually have the ability to text an emergency, rather than call it in.

The system for texting 9-1-1 may not be completed for a couple more years, but dispatcher Patty King believes it's long overdue.

"It's such the norm in regular lifestyle that we are just now getting caught up with that," King said.

The first phase of the project was recently completed with the hearing impaired in mind, but texting in emergencies has quite a few benefits.

"The other area that will come in handy will be domestic abuse," said State 9-1-1 Program Manager Barbara Vos.

"If they feel like the suspect may be in the area, and they're trying to hide or be quiet, they can text information of where they are," said King.

Although it will create more access to emergency responders, there are still a couple concerns with the texting to 9-1-1 function.

"People trying to still text and drive, like if they've driven by an accident, that's still not something we want people doing," said Vos.

The state will be running an education campaign before the changes take place.

"We still need to educate people that the best way to call 9-1-1, is to call," Vos said.

Even though it may be a while before wireless networks are set up to text 9-1-1, Iowa is still one of the first states to get the initial system update.

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