Q&A: Why we can't text 9-1-1

Why we can't text 9-1-1

After hearing about a college student who was carjacked and called 9-1-1 from the trunk of his car, I got to thinking, can you text 9-1-1 when you are afraid of being heard by the perpetrator?

The only place in the United States accepting 9-1-1 texts is Blackhawk, Iowa, which began doing so in August 2009. A couple of places are accepting texts to their 10-digit lines, but that is not a true 9-1-1 solution, said Courtney McCarron Hastings, spokeswoman for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International.

The reason people cannot text 9-1-1 is because the technology supporting the 9-1-1 system is based on voice transmission, she said. Also, the call center (called the public safety answering point) accepting the data could not receive the information usually associated with 9-1-1 calls, such as the location and call-back number, that is crucial for response.

As demonstrated by Blackhawk, Iowa, solutions exist to make 9-1-1 texting a reality, but this would require new equipment for public safety answering points, which struggle to obtain funding for the upgrades the system needs to protect the public, McCarron Hastings said.

She added that text transmissions are not as reliable as voice calls, and voice calls are still the most reliable way to ensure a message is delivered.

AED use okay with pacemaker

I read an article about basketball teammates resuscitating a 49-year-old man who collapsed during a recreational league game and it made me think, can you use the automated external defibrillator on someone with a pacemaker?

AEDs (automated external defibrillators) are safe and should be used even if a victim of sudden cardiac arrest has a pacemaker, experts say.

Be careful not to place the AED pads over the pacemaker, which can be seen as a lump under the skin. The AED will analyze the heart rhythm, and if a shock is indicated, it can be safely delivered even when the victim has a pacemaker. If the victim is successfully resuscitated, the person should have the pacemaker rechecked.

Brett Favre first grandpa in NFL

I read that Brittany Favre gave birth, making Brett Favre a grandfather. My question is: Is Brett Favre the first active player ever to become a grandfather? What about in baseball, where Satchel Paige and others played into their 50s?

To the NFL's knowledge, Favre is the first active player to become a grandfather. It is more common in baseball because so many players remain in the sport into their 40s. One example: the St. Louis Cardinals' Stan Musial, who became a grandfather in September 1963 at age 42, during his final season. In his first at-bat after his grandchild was born, Musial hit a home run.

Q&A: Why we can't text 9-1-1 05/24/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 24, 2010 3:55pm]

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