Google has updated it’s VoIP app, Google Voice, with a warning when a user attempts to send a text message to 9-1-1.
Currently, in the vast majority of the United States, including Lapeer County, there is no way to send a text message to 9-1-1.
There are technical hurdles that need to be overcome and new telephone networks built out, called ESInet’s that are required to make this happen.
Lapeer County 9-1-1 has a new 9-1-1 telephone system capable of receiving SMS and MMS alerts from users, built by microDATA, a TCS Company.
The missing piece is the ESInet which is something the telephone carriers need to build in order to connect emergency callers, via SMS/MMS, to 9-1-1. In our area of Michigan, AT&T is the emergency telephone provider and would need to build out this ESInet.
If you are using Google Voice either on your iOS device or Android device, please be aware that you will not be able to send a text message to 9-1-1 should you have an emergency.
Please, always use the regular telephone service and dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- Send free text messages to US phones and make international calls at very low rates.
- Access your voicemail messages with transcription.
- Make calls with your Google Voice number.
- A Google Voice account is required to use this app (sign up for free at google.com/voice).
- Google Voice is currently only available in the US.
- When using Google Voice for iPhone, both domestic and international calls are placed through a US-based Google Voice access number, and will use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan.
Yesterday evening the Clifford Village Council unanimously approved the construction of a fire/EMS paging tower on Village property and advised that construction could begin immediately.
However, we still need to wait on several federal environmental studies to conclude in the next couple of weeks as well as FCC license modifications.
Motorola will begin ordering the steel and associated equipment for the site and electronics which shouldn’t take too long to come in.
This paging tower will bring much needed coverage to the northernmost portions of the county. We will have the antenna’s pointing in a directional pattern toward the south to cover Clifford, Burlington Township and parts of Rich and North Branch Township’s.
By increasing the coverage footprint in these area’s, the fire departments, medical first responders and Lapeer County EMS ambulances will better be able to receive their calls for service from dispatch. In turn they will be able to get a better response in terms of personnel and timeliness.
LCCD recently received a letter from Sprint informing us of their plan to permanently shutdown the Nextel network on June 30th.
May 29, 2013
Dear Public Safety Official:
As you may know, Sprint will permanently shut down the Nextel National Network (iDEN) on June 30, 2013. This is to inform you about the specific impact to 9-1-1 services and what you can expect on that day.
Beginning at 12:01 AM (Eastern Time Zone) on Sunday, June 30, 2013, the Nextel National Network (iDEN) will begin to shutdown. The process will then continue, working westward, every hour by time zone.
In each market, after 12:01 AM local time on June 30, 2013, the following will occur:
- Voice and push-to-talk calls, including calls to 9-1-1, will no longer originate from the Nextel National Network – NXTL.
- 9-1-1 calls found to be in progress after 12:01AM local time may be allowed to continue until terminated; once terminated, however, no other calls, including calls to 9-1-1, will originate from the Nextel National Network (iDEN).
- Once network shutdown has occurred, no calls – including calls made from non-service initialized (“NSI”) devices – will originate from the Nextel National Network, nor will calls be routed or carried.
- Call-back will not be available to any Nextel device after 12:01 AM local time, even if there had been a call to 9-1-1 from that device.
- There should be no impact to the Nationwide Sprint Network – SSPCS.
Last week the shelter and generator that we have been using in North Branch since 1996 was lifted and moved to our new paging location in Columbiaville. We’ve moved away from the North Branch site to avoid paying continuing rental fees to American Tower Corporation. This site will also bring improved coverage to the Columbiaville and Otter Lake areas for EMS and fire paging.
The next steps for the Columbiaville site are to bring electricity to the site, install the equipment and then provide connectivity back to the main system. At this time, it is undetermined how long it will take to get connectivity as we are still working out those details.
Below is an 18 minute video cut of the lifting and setting of the shelter and generator.
This week—April 14-20, 2013—is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. It is designated as a time when citizens can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment during times of crisis. Americans can show gratitude to 9-1-1 calltakers, dispatchers, technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff across the country who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to help you during emergencies.
Severe Weather Awareness Week – Tip #3
- Purchase a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio with S.A.M.E. (specific area message encoding) capabilities. This feature allows you to enter only those counties you want to get weather alerts for. Some local stores carry these radios. You can also order them online. They range in price from $35 – $50 depending on the additional features you want (i.e. AM/FM radio, etc.). You can also research them prior to your purchase by going on to YouTube. These devices work like an AM/FM radio…if you get it home and cannot find a channel were you hear a computerized weather person speaking, then you may need a different radio or an external antenna. Don’t hesitate to call the Lapeer County Emergency Management Office at 810-667-0242 prior to purchasing one and we will be glad to help you.
- Another great source for early warning notifications are smartphone applications. Here are just a few examples (in no particular order):http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app
http://www.abc12.com/weather (browse the page until you find an option that says “download weather alert app to your phone”.)
http://www.wnem.com/weather (browse the page until you find an option that says “download weather alert app to your phone”.)
http://www.minbcnews.com/weather (browse the page until you find an option that says “download weather alert app to your phone”.)
- Tornado sirens. These are an “outdoor” warning device. If you cannot hear your community’s tornado siren on the first Saturday of each month (April – October) at 1:00pm, then please consider purchasing a weather radio.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lapeer County Emergency Management Office at 810-667-0242.
Stay safe and stay dry!
Severe Weather Awareness Week – Tip #2
Filling Sandbags, Stacking Sandbags & Building A Levee
Should you need to protect your home from flood waters, purchasing sandbags is the most cost effective method, but you can also purchase self-inflating sand bags – they look like a flat pillow and when they come in contact with water, they expand absorbing almost 40lbs of water. You build a levee with them just as you would with sandbags (without all the physical strains). It’s a bit more expensive, but an option for a person that may not be physically fit to fill sandbags.
Sandbag filling Procedures PDF
As you will read on page 3 – item #1, there are a lot of great video resources on YouTube relating to this as well.
If you have any questions, or need additional information on something, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lapeer County Emergency Management Office at 810-667-0242.