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Senator Bill Nelson wants upgraded 911 call centers

Posted at 10:22 PM, Nov 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 23:28:45-04

The very way we summon 911 help is on the precipice of fully embracing smart phone technology, if Florida Senator Bill Nelson gets his way.

“This is in its infancy with next generation,” said 911 Planning Coordinator for Palm Beach County, Dan Koenig.

Under Nelson’s proposal, ultimately, every 911 center would be able to receive texts for help, and pictures and video. So, if the caller is deaf or the very nature of the emergency renders the caller unable to speak, say, if an intruder is in your house or you’re choking, you can still get help fast.

“He wants it so no matter where you are in the United States, you get the same level of service,” Koenig said. 

The county was among the first to shift from a hardline system, to an IP based computer system last decade.

That upgrade benefitting from our larger population.

Every Florida phone owner is billed a small 911 service fee.  That goes to the county you bought your phone in, so bigger counties have more funding for better technology.

“He’s looking to have standard funding for everybody so it’s not a matter of where you live to have next generation 911,” Koenig said. 

Sometime in early 2018, Koenig said texting 911 in Palm Beach County will be available.