A picture of hands texting on a smartphone.
jhaymesisvip / flickr.com/photos/jhaymesisvip/6497720753

Cary's 911 Communications Center can now communicate with people via text message.

Supervisor Doug Workman said this option is available for people who can not make a phone call to dispatch.

"This is very useful in a domestic violence situation, where you as the victim would be able to contact the police where you're not having to speak it out," Workman says.

He adds that it also serves people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr

The Dare County Sheriff's Office is encouraging visitors to the Outer Banks to know exactly where they are in case of an emergency. Cell phones sometimes share inaccurate or incomplete location data with 911 dispatch, so knowing your street address can make it easier for help to find you.

Assistant Director Lora Nock said the 911 Center handles twice as many calls in the summer months as it does in the off-season.

A picture of a man charging an electric car.
David Dodge / Green Energy Futures via Creative Commons

As more alternative fuel vehicles take to the roadways, North Carolina is working to prepare first responders how to react when they're part of an emergency.

The NC Solar Center has worked with the State Fire Marshall's office to develop a workshop for emergency services personnel in the Triangle. Soon, responders in other parts of the state will be able to complete the training online. They'll learn to identify gas, biofuel and battery-operated vehicles.

The ReadyNC app is for Android and iPhone
State of NC

There's a new app for Iphone and Android that could help North Carolinians in this week's winter weather. It's called ReadyNC.

This app does not replace 9-1-1. Rather, it's a place to look for local weather or road conditions, or to find a local shelter if needed.  The app is even designed to offer real-time flood conditions on local waterways.

The app launched not long ago, so this will be its first big test.

If you search for the app on iTunes or the Apple App Sotre, look for "ReadyNC" (No space.)


Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center
Dave DeWitt

If you use a cell phone to call 9-1-1 from your home or office, there's a good chance the dispatch center will receive inaccurate coordinates to your location. That's according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wireless providers deliver location information to 9-1-1 centers with each call. Land line calls include a name and address. The FCC established location accuracy standards when people generally used land lines at home and cell phones on the road. But now, 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls come from cell phones.

Inside of an ambulance
adesigna / Flickr Creative Commons

EMS officials in an eastern North Carolina county will have to expand their services as another rural hospital shuts down. 

The Vidant Pungo Hospital in the town of Belhaven will be closed by next spring.  The facility is in Beaufort County, but it's the closest hospital for residents of neighboring Hyde County, which has about 6,000 people. 

Hyde County EMS director Justin Gibbs says the next closest facilities with emergency services are about 30 miles farther away.

"We're going to have to look at rewriting our system plan," Gibbs says.

Madhu Beriwal (on right cutting the ribbon) when headquarters were moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
iem.com / innovative emergency management


In 1985, Madhu Beriwal was conducting hurricane research for the state of Louisiana. She charted possible directions and outcomes that different storm conditions would bring to New Orleans. Looking at the atlas in 2005, Beriwal said it almost perfectly predicted the severity of Hurricane Katrina. 

Hurricane Evacuation route sign
Wikimedia Commons

A new survey will gather information about coastal residents' attitudes and behaviors regarding hurricane evacuations. For the next month, local and state emergency officials will be conducting phone interviews to find out how residents react to evacuations and how to better implement emergency practices, like transportation and sheltering decisions. The study is being conducted for North Carolina Emergency Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District. 

Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center
Dave DeWitt

It’s been one year since the ten digit dialing requirement was put into place in the 919 area code. It immediately caused an increase in the number of misdials coming into the 911 call centers in the Triangle. Twelve months later, the problem hasn't gone away. 

The calls come in waves, at all times of the day, to the Raleigh/Wake County Emergency Communications Center in the basement of the City Hall building. If the caller who misdials stays on the line and admits their error, it's an easy situation for the dispatcher to handle.

Raleigh TV station WRAL is working on technology that would get emergency messages to you -- wherever you are.

Gurnal Scott: You're familiar with the Emergency Alert System messages on TV and radio.

EAS Test: This is only a test.

WRAL says mobile EAS messages can be sent to hand-held devices with a chip that can pick up TV signals. Steve Hammel is the station's Vice President and General manager.