Frederick County, Md., some 50 miles north of Washington, D.C., covers more than 640 square miles and 236,000 residents, and the City of Frederick is home to the Maryland School for the Deaf. Today, Verizon Wireless customers in the county (only one of six in the country right now) can text to 911 for emergency help if they are unable to make a voice call. The county’s Division of Emergency Management worked with Verizon, TeleCommunication Systems Inc. and the state’s Emergency Number Systems Board to implement the Web-based service, which was kicked off at the Law Enforcement Center in Frederick with a demonstration of what 911 dispatchers will see from texters and will use in response, should a 911 text be received. Texters also can send photos or videos, which then can be forwarded by the dispatcher to officers in the field. TSI says it’s in talks with other U.S. wireless providers to facilitate text-to-911 on their networks.

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