Text to 911 announced for Maryland

| March 5, 2018
Rams Head

Governor Larry Hogan has announced the Board of Public Works’ approval of a new Text to 9-1-1 technology for Maryland, helping to update 1960s-era emergency systems with life-saving technology. This new Internet-based infrastructure allows citizens to send a Short Message Service (SMS) text message to 9-1-1. The Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 70 percent of all 9-1-1 calls now come from cellular users.

“This new technology is a vital public safety tool that could potentially help save the lives of citizens who find themselves in an emergency situation,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to commend the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their hard work to implement this system for all Marylanders.”

Text to 9-1-1 supports 160 characters per message, but no multimedia messaging, such as photos or video. The Maryland Emergency Numbers System Board, under the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, is responsible for overseeing Maryland’s emergency 9-1-1 system, including administering the 9-1-1 Trust Fund, which will fund the new technology.

“The Hogan administration clearly recognizes the importance of ensuring that all Marylanders have access to emergency services,” said Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer. “Text to 9-1-1 is a major step in modernizing our systems and giving citizens the ability to reach first responders when a call isn’t feasible.”

The $2.4 million contract to implement the system began on March 1. Counties will have to opt in but the implementation will be paid for by the state. The process is expected to take 2 to 3 months due to equipment needing to be installed and connected with whatever carrier a county uses.
Frederick County was where the pilot program took place and so it is the only county where it is currently implemented and operated. Frederick County was chosen because the Maryland School for the Deaf is located there.

 

“We are thrilled to welcome this public safety tool for Maryland’s 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing residents, those with a speech impairment, and anyone in an emergency situation where a voice call would be dangerous or impossible,” said Kelby Brick, Director for the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, in keeping with nationwide best practices and preferred methods for implementing Text to 9-1-1, negotiated the procurement of a master contract for the entire state that will enable Maryland’s remaining 23 counties to secure the technology. These improvements facilitate better government efficiency and delivery of the technology.

Rams Head

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