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Text-to-911 Improves California Emergency Response During a Crisis

Americans send roughly 26 billion text messages a day, yet most 911 call centers cannot receive them. Enabling Text-to-911 can make emergency response more effective — especially during a time of crisis.

by Steven Raucher, CEO of RapidDeploy / April 2, 2020
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In many ways, the 911 workflow lacks the basic information, insights and communication vehicles that we are used to in our everyday life. For example, Americans send roughly 26 billion text messages every day, yet most U.S. 911 call centers today cannot receive text messages. With roughly 75 percent of 911 calls being made on cellular phones, enabling Text-to-911 can make emergency response more effective, more efficient, and more personalized — especially during a time of crisis.

For example, being able to directly text 911 in an emergency is critically important for the more than 30 million Americans who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech impaired. Additionally, Text-to-911 can also help in situations when a crime or domestic violence is in process or when the caller is injured and cannot speak. This becomes even more important in times of crisis, as seen in a recent L.A. Times article that showed correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and increased rates of domestic violence.

Recently, RapidDeploy formalized a partnership with Atos, one of four contractors selected by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to upgrade California’s 911 system to a Next-Generation 911 platform, to utilize Radius Tactical Mapping as the solution to enable Text-to-911 across the state of California.

“Cal OES continues to focus on the needs of our dispatchers as we work with our Prime Next Gen 911 provider, Atos, to deliver a fully compliant Text to 911 solution. We are excited about the announcement at CALNENA that Atos is partnering with RapidDeploy to deliver the Text-to-911 solution for California,” says Budge Currier, 911 Branch Manager, Cal OES. “Text-to-911 will enable the state of California to improve communications between callers and dispatchers, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. This is a big step forward for our local 911 agencies and the communities they serve.” Scott Fischer, Atos’ head of operations, NG911 North America, shares, “Text-to-911 ensures that California citizens can communicate in ways that are easiest and most effective for them.”

While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) encourages emergency call centers to begin accepting texts, it is up to each call center to decide how this particular method can be implemented and deployed. California plans to implement Text-to-911 by the first quarter of 2021.

RapidDeploy has been working with the state of California since March 2019, with approximately 75 percent of California’s 400+ 911 communication centers now incorporating RapidDeploy’s cloud-native, integrated mapping and analytics technology. The company is currently planning the process of deploying the solution to the rest of the state.

For more information about RapidDeploy technology and how it helps states like California push the boundaries of what’s possible, please visit www.rapiddeploy.com/.

This content is made possible by our sponsors; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of e.Republic’s editorial staff.

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