The 911 center should be able to receive incoming texts by the fall, Capozzoli said.
In Miami County, the texting service likely won’t get much use in the near future, since the majority of the county isn’t covered by Verizon, said Miami County 911 Director Cliff Gardner.
He said the majority of cellphone users in the county are covered by AT&T. Once they get on board with the state’s system, Gardner said he anticipates the texting service will get much more use.
Even though text-to-911 is now available, the Indiana Statewide 911 Board said communicating with 911 dispatchers by voice is more effective than text-to-911. Using text should be limited to the following circumstances:
When calling 911 is not possible, such as if the caller is deaf, hearing- or speech-impaired.
If a caller is otherwise unable to speak, because of a medical condition such as a stroke.
If speaking would be unsafe, as in the case of abduction or home invasion.
Texters should also be aware that providing location information and the nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Indiana communications centers will receive only an approximate location of the cell phone, and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text.
Text abbreviations or slang should never be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
Customers must also be in range of cell towers in the area. If customers are outside or near the edge of a county, the message may not reach the emergency communications center.
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @carsongerber1.