New technology helps Woodbury County residents contact emergency services

New technology helps Woodbury county residents contact emergency services

New technology is making it easier for Woodbury County residents to get a hold of 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced about a month ago that cell phone users in the state could text 9-1-1 in case of emergencies.

This is part of a statewide initiative, so we wanted to see how it works myself.

Emergencies can happen at any time or place.

And sometimes you can't make the call that could safe your life, like if you were in a loud environment and couldn't relay information back properly.

"Because of the loud environment that we would not be able to hear the caller so texting in that situation might be more beneficial then trying to call on the actual voice call," said Glenn Sedivy, Woodbury County Communications Director.

While this is a new step forward for emergency services, the feature isn't fool proof.

With Woodbury County being a border county and Siouxland being a tri-state region, these texts could be not be delivered, depending on what cell tower they hit.

Sedivy said, "Depending on what tower you hit and what antenna you hit when you are trying to text a call it depends on what 9-1-1 center it goes to whether or not that call will go through."

It's important to know that just because you are in Woodbury County doesn't mean these text alerts will automatically work due to the fact that Monona and Plymouth County are not offering this service yet, and Nebraska and South Dakota don't offer the feature as well.

"At that point you would get a bounce back from that call and tell you that, that texting services is not available in your area. You could be in Woodbury County but you could be hitting a tower that's programmed to a different 9-1-1 center that's not text capable,"said Sedivy.

And when possible always call over text.

Sedivy stated, "The motto is call if you can, text if you can't, because it's easier for the caller or the 911 operator to get more information and be able to pass along medical information, things like that if they actually have a voice call."

To use this service you send the message like a normal text but to 9-1-1.

Dispatch recieves your text and answers back in text form using their keyboards.

Monona and Plymouth county both tell us they hope to have this service up and running in the coming months.

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