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Texting 911 in Steuben County

Written By: Joe Melillo

Texting is now a part of everyday life, and for some itís the easiest way to communicate.

Texting 911 in Steuben County

March 12, 2013
Steuben County (WENY) - Texting is now a part of everyday life, and for some it's the easiest way to communicate. Now a new 911 service in steuben county is offering a texting option in an emergency. The service is available to any Verizon Wireless customers in Stueben county. If you're in trouble and you can't call just text the dispatch center and someone will be there to help.
      At the steuben county 911 dispatch center in Bath, operators work around the clock to make sure neighbors are safe. A new service aims to help the hearing impaired, or someone who might not want to be heard.
       "If you felt there was an intruder in your home and you don't want to make noise to alert them to the fact that you were there and you were seeking shelter in the closet," sasy 911 Emergency Center Director David Hopkins "Or maybe you were abducted and they were in the trunk of the car maybe they dont want someone to know they are communicating with us but they want to let us know whats going on."
       Steuben county has had a 911 dispatch center since 2005, but before that getting emergency help meant memorizing a lot of numbers. The way it works is just type a new text message and send it to the number 911. The text will start a conversation with the 911 dispatcher. They will then ask you where you are, try to provide an address if you can. Because the message dosent automatically track your location. Right now, phone calls are preferred. Texting is only the beginning, soon other technology will be used to help people in an emergency.  
      "It will be another couple of years but the ability for someone to say there has been an accident and take a picture or video and send it to us is the next progression in what will be some really interesting stuff," says Hopkins.
     Right now, 911 texting is only available for verizon wireless users in steuben county. Over the next year the 911 texting service will become available for other service providers.