Residents could soon text 911 during emergencies

January 1, 2013

Residents could someday text information to 911 call centers in Issaquah and elsewhere in King County, after federal officials proposed rules for major wireless carriers to add the capability.

Stan Conrad

The call center at the Issaquah Police Department, like other call centers countywide, is equipped to receive text-to-911 messages, but wireless carriers lack the capability.

The county is poised to add text-to-911 capability as early as next year, on the heels of federal rules proposed Dec. 17 to require wireless carriers and text messaging applications to deliver 911 text messages.

In the proposed rules from the Federal Communications Commission, officials emphasized for people to make a voice call to 911 whenever possible.

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King County launches ‘Smart911′ service to connect callers, responders

September 12, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 12, 2012

King County residents can soon upload personal information into a data service to assist 911 dispatchers and emergency responders.

The program, called Smart911, is a supplemental data service designed to allow residents to create personal safety profiles in a secure database. The information is meant to help crews find callers and assist in emergencies.

“With this new tool, 911 call-takers can locate callers and send help to the right place more efficiently,”King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “It’s especially effective for users of cellphones, whose locations cannot be pinpointed as they can with landlines.”

Smart911 is free for King County residents, and registration is voluntary.

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King County marks 25 years — and 48 million calls — of 911

September 3, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 3, 2010

King County celebrated 25 years of 911 service Thursday at a ceremony to recognize children for using the emergency number to alert authorities to danger.

County Executive Dow Constantine and Robin Fenton, King County Sheriff’s Office technical services chief, honored the children and 911 operators at a Renton ceremony.

“These young heroes who dialed 911 during an emergency deserve our thanks for their quick thinking, and praise for remaining calm and providing information during a stressful situation,” Constantine said in a statement. “King County is pleased to have provided this life saving service for 25 years, and over the next 25 years, we will continue to keep up with technology so that we can best serve our residents.”

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County marks National 911 Education Month

April 6, 2010

King County has recognized April as National 911 Education Month, and encourages residents to learn how to communicate effectively and efficiently during emergencies.

King County E-911 Program Office staffers distributed education materials to all public libraries in King County: a coloring book to teach children about 911 and a brochure for adults. Schools and community groups can also request the free materials. Learn more about the education program here.

“For the past 25 years, 911 has served as a vital link between the people of King County and emergency services,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release. “Educating the public on the appropriate use of 911 has contributed to the incredible success of our emergency communications system. Increased awareness is important as we continue to upgrade the 911 system to work effectively with new communications technologies and devices.”

Congress and the National Emergency Number Association also acknowledged April as National 911 Education Month.