Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Texting to 9-1-1: What You Need to Know

As technology moves forward, more and more carriers and areas are providing the option to text to 9-1-1 for emergencies. Having the option to text to 9-1-1 can be useful in times where talking on the phone could put someone in danger. But what much of the public does not realize is that many carriers and areas of the country still do not have the capabilities to provide texting to 9-1-1.

For example, in some areas of Texas, Verizon users now have the capability to text to 9-1-1 while other carriers do not provide this option yet. If you were to text to 9-1-1, you would most likely receive a bounce back message requesting that you call 9-1-1 for help. As of September of this year, all the major cell phone carriers are required to provide a bounce back message if someone tries to text to 9-1-1. These carriers include Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
9-1-1 entities across the country are working hard so that all carriers can soon provide the public with the option of texting to 9-1-1, in the event that they cannot call 9-1-1 for help. In the meantime, remember, to ALWAYS contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call to ensure that you get help during an emergency situation. For the deaf or hard of hearing, remember to use a telecommunications relay service.

An emergency situation includes any of the following:
·         A fire

·         A crime

·         A car crash

·         A medical emergency

When you call 9-1-1, make sure you know your location and answer all the call-taker's questions. For more information on Text-to-9-1-1, please visit the FCC site at

A video clip of Text to 9-1-1 in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Monday, October 14, 2013

October is National Crime Prevention Month

Since 1984, October has served as National Crime Prevention Month, a time to reflect on what we can do to prevent crime and stay safe. During this month, government agencies, civic groups, schools, businesses, and youth organizations have reached out to educate the public, showcase their accomplishments, and explore new partnerships.

Not only is this month a great time to focus on crime prevention, but it also is a time to focus on Halloween safety for the little ones (trick or treating) and the big ones (going downtown to festivities and parties). While law enforcement will do their best to keep our society safe, it is important that citizens work together to keep their community safe as well. Some great ways to do this is by getting to know your neighbors, coworkers and community members. Working with them, you can help come up with ideas so that you know you are helping each other stay safe and protected.

For those little ones trick or treating, here are some tips:

·         Make sure to wear bright, reflective clothing so that cars can see you.
·         Carry a flashlight with you and make sure the batteries work.
·         Only go trick or treating in well lit areas and have an adult or trusted older child with the younger children at all times.

·         Make sure to look both ways before crossing streets.

For those big ones going out to parties and festivals, here are some tips:

·         Watch for pedestrians on roads when a lot of people are out.

·         Don’t drink and drive.

·         Keep your purse or personal items close to you.

·         Walk with your head up and eyes and ears alert to prevent predators from thinking you are an easy target.

·         Walk in groups and don’t go down streets that are not well lit.

·         If you find yourself in an emergency, remember to dial 9-1-1 for help. Do not text to 9-1-1 as only some areas of the U.S. have this capability currently.

For more information on how to stay safe during crime prevention month, please visit
Kansas City Crime Prevention Efforts

Monday, October 7, 2013

It’s Fire Prevention Week!

In 1922, Fire Prevention Week was established in honor of the Great Chicago Fire that occurred in 1871. During the Chicago fire, hundreds of people died and over 17,000 structures were damaged. After this horrific fire, the Fire Marshals Association decided that the anniversary of the Chicago fire would be a time to remind the public about fire safety and fire prevention.

According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Fire prevention and safety is extremely important. Since cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, this year’s theme is focusing on preventing kitchen fires.

Here are a few ways to keep your home safe from fires:

·         Make sure there are smoke alarms in each room of your home. Check the batteries to make sure the alarm works and is properly installed.

·         Make sure you are being safe when cooking. Check out this link for a cooking safety checklist:

·         Never leave candles lit when you are not home.

·         Looking to help teach kids about fire safety? Check out Sparky’s website:

Remember if a fire is out of control; please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.