- Associated Press - Friday, October 14, 2016

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - A 911-texting service is being launched for the state of Hawaii.

The text-to-911 service can support plain text Short Messaging Services (SMS) messages only and is limited to 160 characters per text, The Garden Island (http://bit.ly/2dZYtYw) reported Friday.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Thursday the service will provide practical mobile emergency communications that can be important to many community members.

“This can be important to the disadvantaged community, the disabled, deaf and hard of hearing,” Ige said.

Hawaii is joins six other states that have already adopted the service.

Pictures, videos and emojis currently cannot be processed. In addition, callers must have active wireless service including a text or data plan, and the device’s location service must be turned on.

Text-to-911 can support plain text Short Messaging Services (SMS) messages only and is limited to 160 characters per text. Pictures, videos and emojis currently cannot be processed. In addition, callers must have active wireless service including a text or data plan, and the device’s location service must be turned on.

New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Indiana, New Jersey and North Dakota also use text-to-911.

E911 Board chair and Hawaii County Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira reported a total cost of over $3 million dollars per local area to upgrade the software systems and infrastructure that can now receive text messages.

“It’s quite a breakthrough and a game-changing announcement that’s being made today to serve our community at-large and to better help our first responders do their job,” said Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “As the governor talked about, it is about extending access and closing the gap and providing service for those who are hearing and speech impaired in this technological age.”

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Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/

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