New Orleans considers text messaging to help communicate during emergencies
| 07.05.2006 | 08:15:40 | Views: 3014 | ID:
July 5 '06: In an emergency, phone text messaging might prove the most effective method of communication according to the Times Picayune in New Orleans. During Hurricane Katrina, one student trapped in his dorm by the rising flood waters used his cell phone to text his family who in turn alerted rescuers. Because text messaging systems are not wired to a 9-1-1 system, those in need cannot send a message alerting a positioning system of their whereabouts.
However "some officials on the state level (in Louisiana) and in New Orleans have started looking into the issue, but technological and jurisdictional obstacles are standing in the way of a quick solution."Michael Abiatti, the chairman of the Statewide Interoperable Communication System Executive Committee which oversees new methods for better planning and communication among state and local officials during an emergency, told the Picayune, that even though there is no direct system in place for text-messagin, it's still "a real system." However, there is still work to be done. Abiatti told the Picayune that a new system "to receive the messages would need the components, capacity and know-how among operators to make it work. Local emergency-preparedness offices would need to be involved, and citizens would have to learn how to use it." Additionally, Louisiana State Police Officer Lt. Col. Joseph Booth told the Picayune that during Hurricane Katrina, police officials were receiving text messages on their cell phones but there was no central system or operator that could help handle and distribute those emergency calls. State officials told the Picayune they were in dialogue with cell phone operators about how to coordinate a system.
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