Delaware Public Media

State emergency call centers now able to take texts

Mar 9, 2018

Starting this month Delawareans are able to text 911 emergency calls statewide.


Delaware’s E911 board is funding upgrades to the state’s emergency call centers, which can now send and receive text messages.


State officials say a phone call is still the preferred method of communication during an emergency.


But Delaware Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Robert Coupe says there are some situations where text messaging could be the better option.


“Could be utilized by an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech disability, or someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a call,” said Coupe.


Coupe says a third scenario could be if a medical emergency has rendered an individual speechless and unable to talk on the phone.


When a text is sent, software at Delaware call centers can identify the senders location.


Coupe says this is likely just a starting point for upgrades to emergency call centers.


“In the future we anticipate that eventually we’ll be able to accept pictures and we’ll be able to accept video," said Coupe/ "We’re not there yet, so we don’t want anyone to try sending those to us, but that’s where this technology is leading us.”