New bill requires California to prepare for text-to-911 capability

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1211, which requires the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services to create a plan for the implementation of a statewide text-to-911 system. The LA City Council recently passed a similar initiative called "Next Generation 911." 

In an effort to guarantee the correct allocation of government funds, Bill 1211 will encourage transparency in calculating how much funding the project will mandate. Several states have been known to transfer 911-allocated money into more general emergency response categories, so officials are now aiming to ensure that the funds will be spent exclusively on text-to-911 services. 

State Senator Alex Padilla authored the bill, which has been developing over the course of the last few years. Padilla wrote a letter to Governor Brown in September, urging him to sign the bill while admitting that the effort would constitute an "immense challenge of funding and deploying."

However, Padilla believes that the effort will be well worth it. Due to the widespread popularity of SMS texting, citizens are beginning to expect that they can text 911 and receive an immediate emergency response. In 2013, for example, a call center in Virginia received 30,000 emergency texts that went completely unanswered, and none of the 500 emergency dispatch centers in the state of California is currently accepting texts. 

Texting to 911 will be advantageous in part because texting requires the lowest level of cellular connectivity, making it helpful in areas with poor service as well as in instances of home invasion and caller hearing impairments.

If your company is interested in the potentials of SMS marketing, it may be time to update your text messaging service.