- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Some North Dakota counties are expected to begin upgrading their 911 networks with a system that eventually will allow cellphone users to send text messages to emergency dispatchers.

The North Dakota Association of Counties says the system will ultimately let people transmit photo and video to help dispatchers better understand an emergency. The group says this feature will be implemented once cellphone carriers configure that capability into their systems.

Jason Horning, a project manager with the association, says counties need an upgraded 911 system that matches the public’s habits such as texting.

The association estimates that North Dakotans place about 250,000 emergency calls each year. The group says 70 percent of those calls come from cellphones.

The group says wireless carriers expect to have nationwide 911 text availability this year.

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