Minnesota, other states begin to implement national 911 SMS service

Through the collaboration of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and state governments, some states will begin using the the Next Generation 911 program. A nationwide system is not required to start until 2014, but some counties like Black Hawk, Iowa already have their own platform in place.

Next Generation 911, also known as NG9-1-1 is an initiative that will include 911 reports that have video, pictures and other data, according to the Department of Transportation. The system that has been in place for over 40 years limits individuals to telephone calls, which can't always help those who need assistance but are hiding from their alleged attackers. 

In recent years, about 70 percent of these calls were made from mobile devices, according to KSTP, an ABC affiliate in Minnesota. This shift of where dispatchers receive their calls demonstrates the demand for NG9-1-1 to roll out. Minnesota is working with the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board (MESB) to oversee the efforts of getting this software out to nine metro areas in the state.

"Someone has broken into the house and they are hiding in the closet and they don't want to say anything but they could text," Pete Eggimann of the MESB told the source.

However, it could take a significant amount of time to get local governments on board with installing NG9-1-1 into their call centers. This is why the FCC is also working on Commercial Mobile Telephone Alerts (CMAS).

Through the assistance of major cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, subscribers might be able to send emergency text messages through these networks instead. As of now, customers with any of these services will automatically receive AMBER and weather alerts within their communities.

Local governments that wish to roll out their own 911 system can get in touch with Swift SMS Gateway. Their expertise with creating these platforms can expedite these services.