MARYVILLE, Tenn. — 9-1-1 call centers across the state are receiving millions of dollars in funding for new technology upgrades.
Those include being able to text 9-1-1.
The new texting capabilities have already rolled out in Memphis and Hamilton county, which includes Chattanooga.
Some counties in East Tennessee are currently waiting to be upgraded, it's just a matter of months now before the change happens here.
At Blount County Emergency Communications Center, time is crucial and change is constant.
"In our business seconds matter. We have to be vigilant about new technology and new ways to provide the response to community needs," said director James Long.
Long is expecting to add text messaging capabilities by the end of the year, allowing people to text instead of call 9-1-1.
However, he sees problems that could arise
"Text messages don't give you a lot, sometimes they can be kind of obscure," Long said.
The time it takes to communicate information between the sender and dispatcher could be crucial to getting someone help.
"It's going to take longer for a dispatcher to respond to text because some calls might be a volume of work so that was a concern for us."
Long says there are benefits though if someone is trying to stay silent.
"If you're hiding from an assailant or someone trying to do you harm, texts would be perfect because you wouldn't have to make noise, draw attention to yourself," Long said.
But in any situation, he recommends call if you can, text if you can't.
"You want to be the help that people need and to do that you have to stay current, know what's going on, follow your protocols and always be vigilant," Long said.
Blount County is hoping to have the new technology by Thanksgiving, if not before.
Knox County is expecting to upgrade, but isn't sure when that will happen.