Florida Manatee Residents Can Text 9-1-1
Next-generation 9-1-1 systems are here, at least for Florida Manatee County residents. According to Manatee County Emergency Communications Center Chief Jacob A.
Saur, the new 9-1-1 system with text messaging capabilities is fully operational.
Next-generation 9-1-1 services
Legislation for next-generation 9-1-1 systems was placed before U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida, last November. However, Manatee County was already ahead when their text-based 9-1-1 system went live in October 2017. Saur had made it one of his primary goals.
“The next generation 9-1-1 technology is so new, but we welcome the new legislation that gives us a pathway,” Saur told The Bradenton Herald. “Manatee County, with or without that legislation, is moving forward.”
Saur is also exploring other ways to improve 9-1-1 efficiency, especially in natural disasters and catastrophes. Getting to people in these kinds of emergencies, like the hurricanes that coastal communities have been experiencing, is vital. People need to be able to reach emergency services when they need it most.
The bill sent to Nelson would garner funding for next-generation 9-1-1 systems across the entire country. In an issued statement, Nelson said: “Upgrading the nation’s 9-1-1 system is literally a life-and-death matter that must become more of a national priority. In this digital world, Americans must have more than one way to access the 9-1-1 assistance they need and expect when emergencies occur. No plea for help should go unanswered because a call center doesn’t have the technology to receive a text, video, or picture.”
9-1-1 in the digital world
Additionally, 9-1-1 systems will have better protection against cyberattacks. The legislation addresses these issues, as well as incorporates a plan for studying new ways to improve 9-1-1 systems in communities.
Smartphone applications will also be added to emergency services. In Manatee County, an app called Pulsepoint alerts CPR-certified individuals when there is a person going into cardiac arrest. This means that a patient in cardiac arrest can get help faster than waiting the six to 10 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, which might be too late.
Technology is changing, and 9-1-1 systems need to upgrade in order to keep up with the needs of their communities. Alternative ways for people to reach emergency services means that more people who need it will be able to access it. Text-based 9-1-1 messaging would be critical for someone who cannot safely make a phone call to 9-1-1, such as during a break-in.