From the Cleveland Daily Banner: In the event of a domestic intruder or other dangerous situation, having the option to text 911 rather than m
From the Cleveland Daily Banner: In the event of a domestic intruder or other dangerous situation, having the option to text 911 rather than make a call may save a life.
“Our center is text-to-911 live at this time,” Sherri Maxfield, director of the 911 Center, told the Bradley County 911 Emergency Communications Board of Directors on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
The capability of texting 911 has been live in Hamilton County since 2019, though Maxfield noted it has not been heavily utilized, adding, “People are still going to do what is the quickest in the event of an emergency, and that is call.”
Maxfield said the national slogan regarding texting 911 is, “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”
In June of 2022, the board voted to approve an update to the 911 Center’s CentralSquare software, which is on a perpetual payment plan costing $246,000.
The acquisition of this software update opened the door for texting 911 in Bradley County, and the update will service the county for the next 10 to 15 years, Maxfield said.
“A lot of times, we get voice calls from people who cannot speak English, and it is becoming more and more prevalent in our county today,” Maxfield said. “Along with that, we’re going to get texts from people who cannot type in English.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved a $12,000 annual subscription to the Prepared Emergency Communications Service, which can be used in the event a person who is not fluent in English needs to text 911.
An invoice for this subscription notes a discount of $3,000 was applied to an original quote of $15,000 for the service.
Admitting it is a costly addition, Maxfield detailed, “This software will immediately convert text to English … It will detect which language is written and translate it for our dispatchers.”
While this was not factored into the fiscal year 2023-24 budget, Maxfield said it may not hit the 911 Center’s bottomline after evaluating changes with the maintenance of other software-based services.