News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News


May 13, 2014

9-1-1 by text

Phone providers to offer urgent service beginning Thursday

TERRE HAUTE — By Thursday, text messages can be sent to 911 in any county in Indiana.

Today, texts to 911 can be sent on at least one major cellular phone provider — Verizon Wireless, said Vigo County 911 Director Rob McMullen.

It’s part of a coordinated statewide approach to public safety, McMullen said Tuesday.

Vigo County was among five counties in the state that participated in a pilot program to test text-to-911 last year through Verizon Wireless and its technology partner, TeleCommunications Systems.

McMullen said AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have also committed to providing the text-to-911 service by Thursday, a deadline set by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC wants all other wireless carriers to provide text-to-911 service by the end of this year, he said.

“This will allow citizens of Vigo County and citizens throughout the state to text messages to 911. Instead of calling, you can send a text,” McMullen said. “It is through the Indiana Statewide 911 Board. Indiana is among the first 10 states” to provide texting to 911. “It allows in-bound and out-bound texts,” he said.

Voice is still the preferred and most effective method to communicate with 911 dispatchers, McMullen said. Still, texting can benefit the hearing- or speech-impaired or if a caller is deaf, he said.

Texting can also be done if a person is unable to speak, as in a medical condition such as a stroke. In addition, texting can be done if speaking is unsafe, such as in a home invasion.

“It kinda started, not specifically, when students at Virginia Tech (in 2007) had an active shooter on campus and many, many people tried to text 911 and those calls just went nowhere to report the active shooter. The FCC is now mandating all public safety access points accept texts into their dispatch” centers, McMullen said.

Vigo County gets about 77,000 calls to 911 annually, or about  200 to 250 calls daily, McMullen said.

“It could increase a few 911 calls, but we are not sure,” McMullen said.

For example, McMullen said a 14-county region that serves Dallas, Texas, received just three texts to 911 in a year’s period. “Cincinnati, Ohio, has [its] system up and running for six months and also only about three texts,” he said.

However, Vigo County during its pilot testing, received hundreds of texts, McMullen said. “We may be different and get much more than other areas,” he said of texts to 911.

To send a text, cellular telephone customers must be in range of cell towers in the area, and texts are limited to 160 characters.

Verizon states customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages and is available to customers who use Short Message Service (SMS) provided by the company. It is not available for third-party text messaging applications than can be downloaded to a phone or for applications that do not use SMS technology.

“If someone can make a voice call, please do so,” McMullen said. “Also, if you use text, please don’t use texting lingo, but type out the full word, as it makes it easier for the dispatchers” to understand, he said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Texas Gov. Rick Perry Visits Iowa
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News