What is the problem?
Minnesotans who cannot make voice calls are unable to contact 9-1-1 in a way that automatically provides potentially life-saving location information.
Calls made from wire line phones to 911 provide very accurate location information and provide an efficient means to dispatch an appropriate emergency response.
Modern communication devices with voice, text, and video capabilities now serve as important communication tools that require access to emergency services. 9-1-1 call centers in Minnesota, however, are not equipped to process location information from devices other than landline phones and are dependent on voice instructions.
What is the proposed solution?
Text-to 911 will provide those unable to make a voice call the option to request emergency assistance via text message. All 104 public safety answering points (PSAPs) are now connected to the Emergency Services IP network (ESInet). This is the infrastructure necessary to advance to Next Generation 911 which includes text-to-911.
The four major national carriers and smaller carriers across the country have deployed text-to-911 service.
Minnesota will select one vendor to provide a text-to-911 solution.
Who is affected?
Minnesota residents and visitors unable to make a voice call to 911 will have an important option. This will be especially useful for:
Minnesota's 10-14% population who are deaf or hard of hearing. Very few deaf Minnesotans use TTY technology anymore. Most use videophones or text messaging, so they currently cannot contact 911 in a way that provides location information. The text-to-911 option will allow them to carry on a text conversation directly with 911 personnel.
People in a domestic violence or home invasion situation who are fearful to speak.
ECN will need to provide a comprehensive public education campaign to show Minnesotans why it is still preferable to make a voice call to 911 when possible.
What is the timeline?
The target completion for text-to-911 in Minnesota is the third quarter of 2015.Successful completion of this project will require significant engagement with and participation by all PSAPs which will need to integrate text-to-911 into their call center answering equipment. All PSAPS need the ability to successfully transfer text messages to other PSAPs. This will require additional training.
March 16, 2015 - Read this news article to find out about the exciting Emergency Communication Networks (ECN) Division of Department of Public Safety Text to 9-1-1 Project!