Frederick, MD to Provide Ability to Text to 911

March 25, 2013 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Technology

Maryland County to Offer 911 Texting for Speaking, Hearing Impaired

From CBS Baltimore 3/22/2013, and Fire Engineering 3/24/2013

Frederick County (MD) is one of the first jurisdictions in the country to offer the option to text 911, reports CBS Baltimore. It’s a standard greeting: “Baltimore City 911. Operator 1232. Where is your emergency?” But what if you can’t hear the question, or say where that fire is burning or where that ambulance is needed?

At Frederick County’s 911 center, they have expanded beyond voice communication. Verizon customers will have the option to text 911.

“It will be just like a chat session people may be familiar with, where both messages will pop up–the message from the caller and then the text we’re typing to reply,” said Jack Markey, Dir. Frederick County Emergency Management. “And we’ll lead them through a series of questions to dispatch the appropriate resources.”

Frederick County is an early adopter of this technology for a good reason. It is the home of the main campus of Maryland’s School for the Deaf, where many on staff see a real need for texting 911. “And something happens and we can’t help. We have to call someone, you know what I mean, we can’t call,” said Rex Moers, Dean of Students.

Frederick County is among the first jurisdictions to enable texting. It’s won’t replace voice calls, but hopes to fill a gap in communicating.

“This is the first step of many that will lead to a national program that’s available everywhere,” said Markey.

The technology is going to be really helpful for us,” said Moers.

The ability to text 911 could also save lives in the event of a home invasion or workplace attack when a caller may be hiding, and doesn’t want to give himself away by talking.

For more information read the story “Frederick County to Offer 911 Texting for Speaking, Hearing Impaired at

Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.