Will you be able to text 911 where you live? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Will you be able to text 911 where you live?

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

The 911 dispatchers are hard at work answering emergency calls, but at some point in the near future, they could start answering emergency texts.

“Ma’am is anyone hurt?” said the Cape Girardeau County Dispatcher.

"It's another way of notifying emergency services," said Mark Hasheider, the EMA Director in Cape Girardeau.

Currently, at least one department in 16 states allows people to send text messages to report emergencies.

Is texting 911 something we could see in the Heartland?

"As with any new technology it takes money, and is not a cheap proposition," said Richard Knaup, EMA Director in Cape Girardeau County.

In Cape Girardeau County, Knaup said it's something they want to do, but aren't there yet.

"We're going to have to figure out funding first, we have to have the dollars there to do it," said Knaup.

Knaup said right now 911 is solely supported by a charge on land lines. So when more than 75 percent of the emergency calls in Cape come from cell phones, the lack of a fee on wireless devices in Missouri is hurting their budget.

"Unfortunately we are under a funding issue, not only thought with text to 911, you know we're a little behind right now with wireless devices," said Hasheider.

Over in Kentucky, Brent Stringer, the Director of the McCracken County 911 services, said they realize the trend is going towards texting, but said there are still a few concerns they want to work out; such as who will handle all the incoming texts, will there be delays in messages, and how will they afford a new computer infrastructure.

And would people in the Heartland use the emergency texting?

"Having a son almost two-years-old, using the dial 911, it's three buttons to teach him, in addition me myself just to talk to someone, to talk through that emergency situation until the responders can get there that's the most important I think,” said Heather Busch.

"I think that's a good option, I think being able to text 911 if you're in a situation where you can't actually call and get to them, if you're trying to be quiet where something's happening, I think 911 is viable option," said Bailey Taylor.

Hasheider wants to remind people, just because texting might be an option, it doesn't mean everyone should use it.

"Texting to 911 should only be used in the situation where they cannot dial and verbally communicate with a 911 operator," said Hasheider.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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