A new way to alert 9-1-1 for help - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

A new way to alert 9-1-1 for help

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WARREN, Ohio -
A new way of reaching 9-1-1 is on the horizon.

Currently, when calls come into 9-1-1, they are through phone calls but soon 9-1-1 centers across Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states will be able to receive text messages. Chief Ernie Cook explained Trumbull's 9-1-1 system is ready, but waiting.

"We're ready to go, were waiting on software upgrades from our wireless carriers. it will be expensive on both sides," said Ernie Cook, Chief Director of Trumbull County 9-1-1.

Like Chief Cook, Maggi McGee, Director of 911 services in Mahoning County is also excited about adding the new potentially life saving technology.

"We have the equipment, we just don't know how they are going to streamline this to us through the system, until the state can give us recommendations," said McGee.

McGee said Mahoning County has made the upgrades needed  but will need expensive software which will be paid for from a 9-1-1 property tax and wireless tax for phone service. 

Mercer County's Director of 9-1-1, Frank Janetti said Mercer County will partner with 11 other counties to upgrade their equipment. It's share of the cost will be about $350,000. 
Both Trumbull and Mahoning's 9-1-1 directors hope to be the first in the region up and running with the text to 9-1-1 system. 

Wireless Carriers Verizon said it will be ready, but added that for now the most effective way to get emergency help is still to call 9-1-1.
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