Emergency Services

Posted on: February 26, 2018

Text to 911 in Maryland


Text to 9-1-1 in Maryland

QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND - On Wednesday February 21, 2018 Governor Larry Hogan announced that the Board of Public Works' had approved a new contract with COMTECH/TCS Telecommunications Corporation, a Text to 9-1-1 service provider, opening an avenue for Maryland's 9-1-1 Centers to implement TEXT to 9-1-1.    

The contract is designed to be an interim solution which, provides for up to two years of service while Maryland's 9-1-1 Centers continue to work on major enhancement and improvements that will revolutionize the way 9-1-1 calls are received in each of the 23 County operated 9-1-1 Centers and the 9-1-1 Center for the City of Baltimore.  These initiatives are commonly referred to as Next Generation 9-1-1 and have been the focus of Maryland's 9-1-1 Community for the past two years.   

TEXT to 9-1-1, like any new service, will take some time to implement.  There are several issues that must be addressed before all (24) Primary 9-1-1 Centers in Maryland will be able to receive and process their first 9-1-1 Text Message.   These include, but are not limited to, training the Public Safety Telecommunicators (Dispatchers), installing equipment within the 9-1-1 Centers, and notification to the cellular carriers that the 911 center is now ready and prepared to receive 9-1-1 Text Messages.  Likewise, neighboring jurisdictions must discuss their implementation plans to ensure they can seamlessly operate together to provide efficient and effective emergency text-call processing.

That said, implementation of TEXT to 9-1-1 will depend on each individual jurisdiction's timeline and the timeline of the TEXT to 9-1-1 service provider or Next Generation 9-1-1 service provider with whom they contract, COMTECH being one of the available options. 

It is important to note that during implementation and rollout, some jurisdictions may have the services while others are still in the implementation phase.  9-1-1 Professionals recommend you always call 9-1-1 if you can and only use TEXT to 9-1-1, if you can't call.

"We are very excited for this new technology! It will be available in Queen Anne's County sometime this year." Says Assistant Chief of Communication Jim Alfree, Department of Emergency Services

Once implemented, a jurisdiction will be able to establish a "text only" conversation, as the interim solution will not support multimedia messages such as videos, pictures, or video chat.

Currently Frederick County is the only county in Maryland that can receive TEXT to 9-1-1 messages and has been doing so since 2013 as part of pilot project to evaluate TEXT to 9-1-1 in Maryland.

The 9-1-1 Community in Maryland is excited about the ability to implement this new service and very appreciative of the efforts made by Governor Hogan and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to bring this to Maryland's 9-1-1 Centers.  

For more information regarding TEXT to 9-1-1 in Queen Anne's County go to our website www.qacdes.com or follow us on Social Media, Queen Anne's County Department of Emergency Services


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