911 officials: Text messaging coming soon

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - One day soon 911 dispatchers will be answering calls for help by traditional phone as well as text messages.

"We have to stay on the cutting edge keep up with the younger generation," said Frankfort's Emergency Management and E911 director, Deron Rambo.

Text-to-911 service launched in several counties across the country today. 911 directors say it will offer some advantages over traditional voice calls.

"Maybe there's an intruder in your home what if someone was hiding in the couldn't call you didn't want to have a conversation for fear of being found," Rambo said.

They could even see streaming video from a caller.

"We can see what's going on, maybe who's involved or what's involved. It just allows us to get that much more information to first responders," Rambo said.

It also offers challenges.

"The downside is in the 911 center we need to ask a lot of questions. We need to retrieve a lot of data for first responders. We might get a text that says 'There's a fight,' or 'There's an accident,' but not necessarily where or how many people are involved," said Rambo.

Right now, there are no places in Kentucky where you can text 911. If you try, you'll immediately get a message telling you you need to make a voice call. Officials in Frankfort say it should be available there by the end of the year. Lexington 911 officials say they're working toward the upgrade as well. They expect to have it available by sometime next year.