Florida, US.- High school students hiding from the gunman in Parkland, Florida, were forced to whisper in calls to 911 for fear of tipping off their location. Others texted friends and family who then relayed information to emergency dispatchers over the phone.
A few months later, a woman in Michigan was able to send off short text messages to 911 dispatchers as her homicidal husband held their daughter hostage.
She was able to convey enough information to help officers get to the scene and formulate a plan to stop the man without the family being harmed.
“Most of the technology that’s in the nation’s 911 centers today is technology of last century. It’s voice-centric communications,” said Brian Fontes, chief executive officer of the National Emergency Number Association.
Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s 911 calls come from cellphones. Yet the dispatchers on the other end are hampered by outdated technology that in most cases doesn’t allow them to accept text messages, receive a live-streaming video or sometimes even easily detect where the caller is.