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Text Messaging 911 Will Soon Happen in Montgomery County
MIAMISBURG -- Starting Thursday, four major cell phone carriers will launch a new service allowing people to text 911 for help instead of calling.
"(beep) 911 what's the location of your emergency?" said the Montgomery County Dispatcher.
You'll soon have more options for getting help in an emergency.
You can still use your cell phone to call 911 dispatchers but soon enough in Montgomery County, you'll be able to text message them as well, it'll come through their system and it could save your life.
"If there is somebody who's in their house when there's a burglary in progress or any other situation where it's important that they try to remain quiet, we think that we may get some of those calls down the road," said Captain Matt Haines, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Regional Dispatch Center.
The system the county is looking at is similar to what's already being used in Hamilton County.
"They text 911 it's going to come directly into our call center it's going to show up at our dispatcher's position just like a traditional cell phone call does," said Jayson Dunn, Director of the Hamilton County Communication Center.
It will be easy for you to use, but will it be as easy for dispatchers to get you help?
"We may know the tower location but we're not going to know the location of the person sending the text message," said Captain Haines.
To get the texter's location dispatchers have to ask, but in some emergency situations time is everything.
"That could be kind of dangerous I guess because you don't necessarily know where you are if there was a way to incorporate the GPS locations that might help a lot," said Katie Stephens.
Another concern dispatchers have is people abusing the system.
"There's an anonymity that comes with text messaging and we see that in all social media venues right now, so there's some concern that there's going to be an influx of calls that aren't valid," said Dunn.
But no matter what potential callers say the benefit outweighs the risk.
"It could definitely help, as long as they have both programs it couldn't hurt to have a second option," said Stephens.
Montgomery County is hoping to go live with the text messages early this fall.
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