Text 911 Program now available - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Text 911 Program now available

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A national program that started in Waterloo gets a big update to help people in danger to send a text message for help.

Most cellphone providers are now equipped to handle Text 911, and it gives people in danger another option to contact dispatchers.

The program kicked off in Waterloo eight years ago with iWireless customers, but it has now expanded.

As soon as a person sends a text message to ask for help, it comes directly to the 911 dispatch center.

Since the technology doesn't track the location, the dispatcher can type back to ask for more information.

Black Hawk County Consolidated 911 Dispatch Center Director, Judy Flores, says she's excited about the program, "We feel it's important that we offer this technology so that it does help save lives."

However, Flores said that calling for help is still the best option.

"Call if you can, text if you can't. If someone is in a situation where their life is in danger if someone heard them call 911, that would be a very good example of when to use it," Flores said.

Flores said it provides another option for people in immediate danger or in a spotty service area to get help.

"Situations where your life is in danger, you're hiding in a closet, you're sitting by someone, and they're holding you hostage, you're in a situation when you don't feel safe to call 911, then, yes. Texting would be the way to go," Flores said.

Judy Flores said if you're trying to send a text message, and you don't have service, you should get a notification right away that it didn't work.

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