Dutchess County assesses first year of Text-to-911


POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County has been operating with the Text-to-911emergency alert system for the past 11 months, the first county in the region to offer the program. Last week, Orange County became the second county to provide the service.
The message from both counties is “call if you can; text if you can’t.”
The whole idea of the program is should there be a situation where a
person cannot call 911 and verbally communicate – whether it is
a medical problem, a crime or a domestic incident – use the text
function on your cell phone and just type in “911.” When an
emergency dispatcher responds, the individual should type in a short message
about the problem.
Dutchess County Emergency Services Commissioner Dana Smith said the program is a great resource when needed and will get better in years to come.
“Over the next few years as technology improves on the cell carriers’ part, we will be able to improve accuracy and connectivity via text messaging, but today it’s not as robust and not as exact as if you called via cell phone or land line phone,” Smith said.
In 11 months since the Dutchess program began, the emergency center has received 175 text messages, 14 of which were legitimate, 10 were law enforcement related and two were to do with medical emergencies. 

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