When you call 9-1-1, you expect the dispatcher who answers that call to get you the help you need and to get it to you fast.
Dealing with life-or-death emergencies is challenging enough. Dealing with them in a region that has large, sparsely populated areas and is experiencing significant growth makes meeting the public's expectations of fast and accurate emergency services even more difficult. TCOG's 9-1-1 program is proud to play a role in meeting these difficult challenges.
On May 15, 2015, Governor Abbott signed SB 788 (Kari's Law). The law represents the culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall, Texas.
Kari's Law requires direct access to 9-1-1 service from a telephone system that provides outbound dialing without having to first dial a prefix or other access number or code.
For more resources on Kari's Law, please visit www.texas911.org.
What are the benefits of 9-1-1?
9-1-1 provides a single phone number for use for all types of emergencies: POLICE, FIRE, and MEDICAL. This is important because studies show that 90% of us do not know our emergency phone numbers. Having 9-1-1 reduces the confusion of looking in the directory for the appropriate seven-digit telephone number.
- Calls are routed over special emergency phone lines
- Calls are recognized and answered as emergency calls
- Calls are answered by trained telecommunicators
- Helps shorten overall response time
- Helps save lives and property
Local governments and public safety answering points benefit from the program by providing only the local operations. TCOG provides planning, implementation, management, as well as ongoing administration of the regional network of systems and financing.
Advances in technology are improving both response time and accuracy (after all, it doesn’t matter how quickly the responders arrive on the scene if they go to the wrong place). With state-of-the-art call-taking equipment that incorporates digital mapping applications in the six 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that TCOG administers, emergency dispatch for more than fifty police, fire and emergency medical service agencies throughout the region is becoming more effective and more reliable all the time.
Who pays for 9-1-1?
House Bill 911 allows communities to finance the costs of regional 9-1-1 service in two ways:
Next Generation 9-1-1
The future of 9-1-1. Any device. Any time. Anywhere.
Next Generation 9-1-1, or NG911, is defined by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) as "the next evolutionary step in the development of the 9-1-1 emergency communications system known as E9-1-1. NG911 is a system compromised of managed IP-based networks and elements that augment present-day E9-1-1 features and functions and add new capabilities. NG911 will eventually replace the present E9-1-1 system and is designed to provide access to emergency services from all sources and to provide multimedia data capabilities for communications centers and other emergency service organizations."
The 9-1-1 system currently in place is not broken. In fact, it works well. Currently, 240 million calls are placed to 9-1-1 nationally each year. 20 million of those calls are made here in Texas. However, today’s 9-1-1 system is built on 1960′s technology. It was designed as a wireline, analog system with calls being placed from one fixed location to another. However, times have changed dramatically over the years. We are a much more mobile society than 50 years ago.
At present, more than 70 percent of calls placed to 9-1-1 are wireless calls. As technology has changed over the years, certain work-arounds have been put in place for 9-1-1 to be able to handle the new technologies such as wireless and VoIP calls. Even with the advancements we have made, we are quickly reaching the limitations of our current system. 9-1-1 cannot receive text messages, pictures, crash notification information (OnStar, Sync), etc.
The purpose of NG911 will be to replace our current network infrastructure and allow for a new system that will handle current and future technologies and capabilities and also increase flexibility and interoperability between communications centers across the state.
Our staff's role in NG911 Implementation
The staff at TCOG 9-1-1 and GIS programs will be partnering with agencies at a regional and state level to plan, prepare and implement NG911. We will be working diligently in the months and years to come to bring the newest technologies and services to the citizens of our region.
Until the day comes that this new system is in place, please remember the following:
Currently, you CANNOT text 9-1-1
If you have an emergenvcy, please dial 9-1-1 and speak with a dispatcher, answer all questions and do not hang up until you are instructed to do so.
Always know your location
DO NOT assume that 9-1-1 has it. If you do not have an address, be ready to provide the dispatcher with descriptions of landmarks or businesses that are nearby.
Know how to use the phone you own
With so many different technologies (wireline, wireless, VoIP) and countless types of phones, familiarize yourself with your phone. In a place of business, you may have to dial "9" to get an outside line. With your wireless phone, you would have to press the "send" button to connect the phone. While it may seem simple, being acquainted with your phone may save precious seconds during an emergency.
Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)
Our region currently has six (6) PSAPs. A PSAP is a twenty-four (24) hour facility where 9-1-1 calls are answered.
Grayson County also has a secondary PSAP.
Van Alstyne Police Department
242 N. Preston Ave.
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Additional Municipal Districts
In addition, there are two municipal emergency communications districts located within our region. These agencies are not funded by the TCOG 9-1-1 program but by revenue generated within their city limits.
Sherman Police Department
317 S. Travis St.
Sherman, TX 75090
Denison Police Department
108 W. Main St.
Denison, TX 75020