OUR VIEW: New 911 text option is benefit to public safety

Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 19:09
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By: The New Britain Herald

It was not all that many years ago when everyone had a traditional landline telephone in their home.

Remember the old rotary dial telephones? Then technology brought us the push-button telephone. We marveled at the innovation of the extra long phone cord, the speaker phone option and the personal answering machine.

Alas, the old-fashioned telephone has now almost completely been replaced by the ubiquitous cell phone. In fact, most people these days don’t even have a home phone and use a cell at home and away. But as technology continues to move even faster, the cell phone call is quickly becoming replaced by text messaging.

So, when Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office sent out a statement last week announcing a change to the 911 system, it was a welcomed upgrade, but that surprising.

Now, people with disabilities, those injured and unable to speak and people who are in immediate physical danger can text 911 for police and medical help.

The system’s new theme is “Call if you can, text if you can’t.” State officials stressed that texting 911 is not a replacement for calling - it is only intended to be used when absolutely necessary, officials said.

In order to use the system, a person must have a mobile device that has a mobile phone number with a wireless carrier, according to www.text911CT.org .

Unlike 911 phone technology, those who text 911 must give an exact address in order to get help. People should also include the nature of the emergency and hit “send” and then wait for a response. People should also respond to any questions and follow instructions they receive through text contact with 911.

While we think that speaking to a 911 operator is always best when calling for help, we applaud the new text feature especially in cases of domestic violence, active shooter situations and home invasions in progress.

If first responders can save even one life from a “silent” cry for help, then this technology should be heralded and implemented in other states as well.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 19:09. Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2018 19:11.