Indiana 911 texting service launches for Verizon customers

INDIANAPOLIS - Starting Wednesday, Verizon Wireless customers in select Indiana counties can text 911 if they have an emergency, the Indiana Statewide 911 Board announced.

The extended service follows a year of testing and the board said that 75 to 80 percent of all 911 calls come from a cellphone.

Statewide 911 Board Executive Director Barry Ritter says emergency dispatchers in 28 Indiana counties had been equipped and trained to handle text-to-911 calls as of Wednesday. The goal is to expand the service statewide by year's end.

Despite the convenience of texting, there are a few caveats. Dispatchers said they can't track the location of a cellphone as easily as a landline and text messages may be delayed or confusing because of auto-correct features.

Officials say that while calling is best, texting is a good alternative for people who may not have another option.

Meanwhile, the FCC is pushing all wireless carriers to provide the 911 texting service by the end of the year and T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T said they will offer the services in the future.

To see if 911 texting is available in your area, visit www.in911.net

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