911 texting service demonstrated in Black Hawk County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

911 texting service demonstrated in Black Hawk County

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Black Hawk County makes history, becoming the first place in the nation where people can send text messages to 911 during emergencies.

The system went online in June.  After weeks of testing, Wednesday afternoon officials demonstrated how it worked at city hall in Waterloo.

It's not meant to replace 911 calling, which is still preferred, but serves as a backup for the hearing imparied or people who are in emergencies and cannot safely talk on a phone.

"It's a new world. Text messaging is becoming more and more popular.  We saw a need for it and the board was eager to jump on board," Waterloo Police Chief Tom Jennings said.

The most important information to include in 911 text messages is location and the nature of the emergency.

Emergency dispatchers have been studying manuals on common texting phrases and acronyms to ensure they'll be able to understand people during emergencies.

Online Producer: Mike Verlo

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