W-Y Comm Implements Text Messaging into Non-Emergency Workflow

Despite the fact that 80% of 240 million yearly 9-1-1 calls originate from mobile or wireless devices, much of the country’s existing 9-1-1 infrastructure is not built to leverage the full capabilities of modern consumer technology and the lifesaving data it can provide. The public sector has not effectively stayed abreast of technological advances. Simply using the technology available, your Uber driver can find you more easily than an ambulance. 

Prepared is working feverishly on closing this technological gap by partnering with 10% of all 9-1-1 centers in the United States. Remarkably, this was accomplished just 18 months after the platform’s public launch in October 2021. These agencies help protect over 18% of the American population (roughly 60 million people).

Washington-Yuma Combined Communications (W-Y Comm) is one of those centers, and has been for the past year. This tool allows them to send text messages to callers, which can be used to get a precise GPS location, receive images, and more. This part of the service is free. W-Y Comm has taken it a step further earlier this year, and recently started using Prepared Live Enhanced.

Prepared Live Enhanced is the first paid tier of features for the industry-leading, free Prepared Live platform. The three most important features here are inbound ten-digit texting, automatic language detection and translation, and a directory of local law enforcement professionals, allowing them to send non-emergency information by text without using radios.

Locally, this new texting ability has been used to send precise GPS coordinates to first responders, receive pictures of fires, dogs at large, traffic accidents, and more, and has been utilized several times to better serve our Spanish-speaking citizens. 

The future of this tool is bright. So many people would rather send a text message instead of making a phone call, and W-Y Comm is ready to meet you there. Going forward, there is work being done on some online forms to more efficiently report crimes. Remember, W-Y Comm serves as the primary answering point for all law enforcement agencies in Yuma and Washington counties. 

W-Y Comm encourages residents to try out this system. Simply send a text to the published non-emergency line (970-848-0464) and ask for the link to sign up for Code Red. There is a big push to get citizens signed up for Code Red alerts, which is a mass notification tool used primarily for emergency evacuation information. It also includes automated weather alerts. 

Staff can also send the link to COtrip for road conditions, and even a link to our job application.

It has been said with text-to-911: “if you can’t call, text.” On that same note, it could be said: “if it can wait, send us a text.”

About Ryan Saffer 4 Articles
Ryan was hired as a dispatcher at W-Y Communications is 2006, and was promoted to Communications Director in 2021.