New “Text-to-911” Feature Now Available Statewide

New “Text-to-911” Feature Now Available Statewide

Governor Carney conducted live demonstration of the system to show enhanced capabilities

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday recognized that Delaware’s 911 centers are now equipped to accept emergency requests for help through text message.

Today Delaware announced that all 911 centers statewide are ready to receive text messages in the time of an emergency.

“There are many emergency situations that occur each day placing our citizens in a position where making a call is not possible,” said Governor Carney. “Text-to-911 is a life-saving technology, giving our citizens one more way to reach out for help when they need it most. This is just another step Delaware is taking to make our communities safer.”

Governor Carney tests Text to 911.
Governor Carney’s test text message displays on monitors, highlighting the newly enhanced “text-to-911” service.

Governor Carney demonstrates Text to 911.
Governor Carney demonstrates “Text-to-911” with Jeffrey Miller, Chief of Emergency Communications for New Castle County.











While “Text-to-911” is now available, voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

“Text-to-911” is meant for times when a call to 911 is not possible due to the caller being incapable of speech during an emergency, if the caller is hard of hearing, or if the caller is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call.

Recent upgrades to equipment and operating system software in 911 Centers statewide, funded through the State’s E911 Board provided the technology needed to support text messaging. This project transitioned the State’s 911 emergency communications system which operated on copper lines to an internet based system with more flexibility for communication and interoperability.

“As chair of the State’s E911 Board, I am extremely proud of this project as the system permits our 911 Centers to accept texting today and in the future will enable us to accept other types of electronic data including pictures and video,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Robert Coupe. “This project also provides new technology that significantly improves operations for our 911 Centers making emergency communication more reliable and efficient for our citizens and the public safety community.”

Text 911 fact sheet
Click image to enlarge.

To quickly get help through Text-to-911, the first text should be short and include the location of the emergency and ask for police, fire, or ambulance. Texts should be in simple words with no emojis, abbreviations or slang. Texts should also not be included on a group conversation.

“The 911 system has been a literal lifesaver for millions of Americans over the years, and since its introduction in the 1960s, 911 has had to adapt to all sorts of changes in technology, public safety needs, and user habits,” said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent, a longtime volunteer firefighter and member of the State’s E911 board. “There was a time when most calls came from landlines at physical addresses. That’s not true today with everyone carrying a cell phone. So by offering the ‘text-to-911’ feature, Sussex County and Delaware’s 9-1-1 call centers are once again adapting to change, and will now have the latest technology in place to continue providing the critical service our public expects. If one person uses this features and it saves a life, then it proves its worth.”

“Text-to-911 is a critical lifeline for those experiencing domestic violence and for other victims of crimes to reach out for immediate help when making a phone call is simply too dangerous. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability now have a powerful tool to connect with first responders,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We should all be proud that our public safety leadership across the county and state are embracing wireless technology to provide a more efficient response. Call 911 when you can. Text 911 when you can’t.”



Download the PDF fact sheet.

Delaware First Responders and Hospitals Recognized for 20 Years of Saving Lives

Trauma System Leaders honored for 20 years of continuous service
Trauma System Leaders honored for 20 years of continuous service

DOVER, DE – When someone is seriously injured, seconds or moments can make the difference between life and death. To increase the chance of survival and reduce the chance of permanent disability, Delaware created an integrated, statewide trauma system 20 years ago that begins with a 9-1-1 call and does not end until after the patient receives high quality hospital care.

The Delaware Trauma System members include 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centers, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers of Basic and Advanced Life Support, fire and police agencies, air medical transport, hospital emergency trauma teams, operating rooms, and intensive care units. The system includes the helicopters you might see in the sky, the ambulance you might see on the road, and the emergency room medical personnel and surgeons that could save someone close to you.

To celebrate the men and women of the trauma system, dozens of medical professionals, and first responders filled the House of Representatives chambers at Legislative Hall on Tuesday, joined by state and local officials to mark the 20th anniversary of the Delaware Trauma System.

Delaware has one of the nation’s few inclusive statewide trauma systems in which every acute care hospital participates. The state’s trauma system is credited with saving 1,319 lives and caring for 101,000 seriously injured people since 2000; an almost 50 percent decrease in the mortality rate in that time. The Delaware mortality rate is now consistently lower than the national rate reported by the federal National Trauma Data Bank.

“No matter where people are injured in Delaware, they enter a system of care with a goal of ensuring that trauma patients are treated using the most up-to-date standard of care and in the facility best equipped to manage their injuries,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf at the Legislative Hall press conference held October 11, 2016.

The DHSS Division of Public Health Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) oversees the system from the time traumatic incidents occur through the full continuum of care. OEMS has played a critical role in building one coordinated system of care that functions as a statewide team of caregivers. The Delaware General Assembly and then-Governor Thomas Carper created the Delaware Statewide Trauma System via legislation in July 1996.

Governor Jack Markell and U.S. Senator Carper offered their best wishes in prepared statements:

“Delaware has a vast network of prepared, highly trained professionals to ensure that injured patients receive fast, efficient, and life-saving care,” said Governor Markell. “The men and women of the Delaware trauma system are heroes every day as they work to save lives and reduce the impact of serious injuries.”

“Twenty years later, I am thrilled to celebrate a system we started to help save the lives of countless Delawareans,” said U.S. Senator Carper. “To all the people that deliver the continuity of care in Delaware’s Trauma System: thank you for all that you do to make Delaware a better place to live and work.”

“Seriously injured people have a much better chance of surviving now than they did 20 years ago because the state, our first responders and hospitals are synchronized in their care and treatment of trauma patients,” said Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “I am proud of the work of the DPH Office of Emergency Medical Services and grateful to everyone in the entire trauma system for their dedication and commitment to saving lives.” Rattay also led a moment of silence for the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“Decades ago, trauma caregivers statewide realized that if we adopted consistent care and uniform processes, we could prevent deaths and reduce the likelihood of injuries becoming serious disabilities,” said Dr. Glen H. Tinkoff, Trauma Director at Christiana Care Health System’s Wilmington Hospital. “With the 1996 passage of the enabling trauma system legislation, we have significantly reduced trauma-related mortality and morbidity because we developed and implemented a system that is integrated with Delaware’s EMS system.” Dr. Tinkoff served as medical adviser to the state trauma system from 2000 to 2016.

When hospitals meet the rigorous standards for verification by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, they receive state designations as Trauma Centers:

• Christiana Hospital of the Christiana Care Health System is designated a Regional Level 1 Trauma Center. A Regional Resource Trauma Center has the capability of providing leadership and comprehensive, definitive care for every aspect of injury from prevention through rehabilitation.

• Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington assumes a leadership role in caring for injured children. As a Pediatric Regional Level 1 Trauma Center, it has the capability of providing leadership and comprehensive, definitive pediatric trauma care for the most severely injured children within its geographic area.

• Delaware has seven Community Level 3 Trauma Centers: Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital, Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Saint Francis Healthcare (provisional), Wilmington Hospital of Christiana Care Health System (provisional), and Peninsula Regional Medical Center (Salisbury Maryland) via reciprocity. Community Level 3 Trauma Centers provide assessment, resuscitation, stabilization, and triage for all trauma patients. They arrange timely patient transfers for those who need a Regional Trauma or Specialty Center, and deliver care to those patients whose needs can be met by the facility’s resources.

Secretary Landgraf, Dr. Rattay and State Senator Bruce Ennis recognized 14 Trauma System leaders for their 20 years of continuous service:

• Edward L. Alexander III, MD, FACS of Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
• Marilynn K. Bartley, MSN, RN of Christiana Care Health System
• Steven Blessing, MA, Chief, EMS and Preparedness Section, DPH
• Steven D. Carey, MD, FACS of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
• Dean Dobbert, MD, FACEP, Kent County EMS Medical Director
• Deborah Eberly, BSN, RN, CEN, CNML of Bayhealth
• Gerard J. Fulda, MD,FACS of Christiana Care Health System
• Linda Laskowski Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN of Christiana Care Health System
• MarySue Jones, RN, MS, State Trauma System Coordinator, OEMS, DPH
• James P. Marvel, Jr., MD, FACS of Beebe Healthcare
• Ross E. Megargel, DO, FACEP, State EMS Medical Director
• Stephen G. Murphy, MD, FACS of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
• Lawrence E. Tan, Esq., NRP, Chief of Emergency Medical Services, New Castle County
• Glen H. Tinkoff, MD, FACS of Christiana Care Health System

Additionally, State Senator Bruce C. Ennis (D-Smyrna) read a joint resolution recognizing the trauma system’s anniversary, and trauma survivor Melanie Pertain shared how the trauma system helped her and her family after they were involved in a serious motor vehicle crash.

Trauma can result from intentional as well as unintentional injuries. Unintentional injury, the leading cause of death and disability of Delawareans and visitors between the ages of 1 to 44 years, results from falls, burns, roadway crashes involving motor vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians, and from farm and industrial incidents. Intentional injuries result from violence, assaults, shootings, stabbings, and suicides.

Falls, highway, and assault-related injuries make up more than 77 percent of all injury-related hospitalizations in Delaware.

For more information about the Delaware Trauma System, visit or call the Office of Emergency Medical Services at 302-223-1350. For information about the Delaware Coalition for Injury Prevention, visit their web page here.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

September 11th – Ten Years Later

In his weekly message, Governor Jack Markell talks about the tenth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the resiliency of the American people and the value of remembering that we are strongest when we are united.

“None of us will ever forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Where we were when we heard the news – the shock, the sadness the profound sense of loss from so many lives taken through hatred, and horror, “ said Governor Jack Markell. “ But the days that followed made clear what’s best about our great nation. The heroism of our first responders, like our police, firefighters, and rescue workers….the friends and neighbors who lined up, around the block, to give blood or in some way give back.”

The Governor will spend September 11, 2011 with firefighters, police officers and other Delawareans gathered for several remembrances. This weekend, events across our state and nation will commemorate the passage of ten year’s time since that attack on our soil.

“Together, we will pause to honor those that were lost, to celebrate those who have served, and in many cases, give back to our friends, our neighbors and our country, for all that we have received from them,” said the Governor. “This weekend is a chance to reflect, and remember, but also, I hope a chance to rekindle that spirit of unity that remains alive in each of us, despite the best efforts by the occasional winds of division or derision to extinguish it. A chance to renew together our commitment to the values that have kept our nation alight.”

About the Governor’s Weekly Message:
At noon every Friday, a new video message is posted to the Governor’s website and YouTube channel and is distributed to Delaware media outlets. Transcripts of the messages are posted and the audio version of the Governor’s message is available on iTunes as a podcast for distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers. The Governor’s weekly message is currently being carried on the air and posted on websites by various media outlets, and the direct link is:

Constituents, media outlets and others are free to link to the Governor’s video message on YouTube – – or on his Facebook page – – or on the Delaware State website at . All are also invited to follow him on Twitter – – and submit ideas through