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Intrado TXT29-1-1 Allows Hamilton County, Ohio, to Serve Citizens Better

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On December 13, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding text to 9-1-1, seeking comments on a variety of text-related issues. The FCC also sought comment on whether to require all commercial wireless carriers and interconnected text over-the-top (IT-OTT) providers to implement text-to 9-1-1 service, enable roaming, routing and location services for text-to-9-1-1, and provide PSAPs options for receipt of text-to-9-1-1. Concurrently, the four major U.S. wireless carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—voluntarily committed to make text-to-9-1-1 service available by May 15, 2014, in all areas served by their respective networks where local PSAPs have the technical capabilities to receive texts.

Stratus Technologies

The Challenge
With the growing reliance upon text messaging across all sections of society, Hamilton County, Ohio 9-1-1 decision makers recognized the importance of providing an alternative means to contact 9-1-1 when a voice call was not appropriate. “Many people in our community use text messaging as their primary means of communication, including our deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens,” said Jayson Dunn, Director of the Hamilton County 9-1-1 Communications Center. “Studies have shown that more and more people believe they can reach 9-1-1 with a text message despite its limited availability in most of the country. Even though a voice call to 9-1-1 is usually the best choice, there are situations when that is not possible. We needed to implement this service because we are committed to delivering emergency assistance to the people of our county as effectively as possible. It was time to not only meet the needs of our constituents, but their expectations as well.”

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The Solution
Hamilton County 9-1-1 Communications Center has been using the Intrado call handling equipment since 2011. In 2012, the center deployed Intrado’s Advanced 9-1-1® network in preparation for the eventual transition to next-generation functionality. When the center recognized the need for text capabilities, Intrado was able to easily leverage the existing infrastructure to deliver the TXT29-1-1 solution with Verizon as the initial text carrier.

Aligned with the NENA i3 Reference Architecture and the ATIS/TIA Joint Standard J-STD-110, TXT29-1-1 can operate in any public safety environment. This flexible solution offers PSAPs three industry-standard display options: over a single web browser utilizing a URL with login and password, SMS-to- TTY in which the text message is converted to a synchronous Baudot tone then inserted into an 9-1-1 voice call, or direct integration with PSAP call-handling equipment. Because Hamilton County was already using the Intrado network and equipment, basic remote programming was all that was needed for Intrado to deploy the direct integration solution.

The Results
When a caller is in a situation when a voice call is not possible or would put them at higher risk, such as during a home invasion or abduction, they simply input the same familiar 3-digit code required for a voice call and the request for assistance will be delivered to the appropriate PSAP, though without location information. The call-taker will reply to the caller with a return text asking for their location as well as the nature of the emergency. As with a 9-1-1 voice call, the call taker will remain in contact with the caller until the situation is resolved. Hamilton County 9-1-1 was able to prove the effectiveness of this lifesaving service when a 13-year-old girl texted 9-1-1 indicating that she was thinking about hurting herself. She had been hesitant to call 9-1-1, fearing her mother would hear her on the phone and get upset, so her friend suggested a text message. The text was received at the Hamilton County 9-1-1 Communications Center and a call taker was able to remain in contact with the young girl until emergency responders could arrive at her home to provide the necessary intervention.

Hamilton County Communications, Ohio
Established in 1949, the Hamilton County Communications Center currently handles all 9-1-1 calls in 47 of the county’s municipalities and townships, excluding the Cities of Cincinnati, Norwood and Amberley Village. The communication center includes one PSAP with 14 call taking positions and 67 full-time call takers and radio operators and it serves a population of more than 280,000 people. In 2013, the center received more than 567,000 incoming calls, nearly half of which were 9-1-1 requests for assistance.  For more information, see http://www.hamilton-co.org/hccc/

For more information on Intrado, see www.intrado.com/

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via Intrado, 7/23/14)

Photos via Intrado.

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