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April is 9-1-1 Education Month

 

April 1 - Governor Terry E. Branstad has designated April as 9-1-1 Education Month in Iowa.

 

Sponsored by the Iowa 9-1-1 Communications Council and the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), 9-1-1 Education Month is an opportunity to help all Iowans recognize the importance of 9-1-1 and the role they play in ensuring effective emergency response.

 

“When calling 9-1-1, remember, stay calm, and be aware of your location so you can help 9-1-1 dispatchers locate you during an emergency,” said Vos.

 

Both the U.S. Congress and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) have recognized April as National 9-1-1 Education Month.

 

Statewide Upgrade

HSEMD has completed an upgrade to Iowa’s 9-1-1 network that will eventually allow citizens to contact 9-1-1 using text, video and picture messaging. The upgrade is part of a national initiative to upgrade wireless 9-1-1 networks to Internet Protocol (IP)-based systems, which are more robust and capable of handling new messaging technology.

 

“The technology is changing, but all of the pieces are not yet in place,” said Vos. “We’ve completed the first phase of this project with the installation of the network. Over the next 18 months or so, we will work with the wireless carriers and 9-1-1 call centers as they get equipment and procedures in place that will allow them to utilize this new technology.”

 

Vos said even when the technology is in place to allow citizens to text 9-1-1, it will still be best to call if at all possible if you need help. “Even when text-to-9-1-1 is available, citizens should continue to contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call if they can, and use text only if calling is not a safe or feasible option,” said Vos.


Materials and other resources on 9-1-1 are available on the Ready Iowa website at www.beready.iowa.gov under the “Be Prepared” tab, and also on the NENA website at www.nena.org under the “Education” tab.

 

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9-1-1 FAQs

 

  • 9-1-1 Education Month in Iowa is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and the Iowa E-911 Communications Council.
  • Both the U.S. Congress and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) have recognized April as National 9-1-1 Education Month.
  • 9-1-1 Education Month was created help Iowans of all ages recognize the importance of 9-1-1 and the role they play in ensuring effective and efficient emergency response in times of crisis.
  • Those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability should use a TTY or telecommunication relay service to contact 9-1-1.
  • This is the fourth year HSEMD and the Iowa E-911 Communications Council have sponsored 9-1-1 Education Month.
  • Materials and other resources on 9-1-1 are available on the Ready Iowa website at www.beready.iowa.gov under the “Be Prepared” tab.
  • NENA has educational information available on their website at www.nena.org under the “Education” tab.
  • Iowa has completed the statewide upgrade of its wireless 9-1-1 network to an Internet Protocol (IP)-based system.
  • The IP-based system, also called Next Generation (NG) 9-1-1, will eventually allow citizens to contact 9-1-1 using text, video and picture messaging.
  • The IP-based system is more robust and is capable of handling the new messaging technology.
  • Over the next approximately 18 months, HSEMD will work with the state’s 9-1-1 call centers as they upgrade their call-taking equipment.
  • HSEMD will also continue to work with wireless service providers as they work to utilize the new technology.
  • Once the 9-1-1 call centers and wireless service providers have finished their upgrades, Iowans will be able to use this new technology to contact 9-1-1.
  • For now, you cannot reach 9-1-1 by sending a text message.
  • Consumers who try to contact 9-1-1 via text message before call centers are capable of receiving the texts will receive a “bounce back” message advising them to make a voice call to 9-1-1.
  • Even when 9-1-1 call centers are capable of accepting text messages, it is still best, when possible, to make a voice call to 9-1-1.
  • The upgrade of Iowa’s wireless 9-1-1 network is a $2.6 million project, with half of the funding coming from a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the other half from the state’s 9-1-1 wireless funds.