GASCONADE COUNTY, Mo. – New technology using your cell phone’s camera is helping 911 dispatchers get a first-hand view of an emergency before first responders get to the scene.

“Scenario is you’re sitting in a closet, you can’t speak, you’re hiding from someone,” said Dawn Humphrey, a Gasconade County dispatcher. 

She said that’s where Prepared Live can come in handy. 

“We can put eyes on the situation, versus just listening to it and hearing what’s happening. We can actually see what’s happening,” Humphrey said.

A link sent from dispatch gives them a live view of the situation around you. 

“The screen is blank; you don’t know that it’s being recorded… No one else will know that you’re doing a recording at the time,” Humphrey said.

Cell phone text messaging isn’t new technology, but sending a simple text to 911 might not be an option depending on where you live. 

“If you text, you’ll actually get a bounce back message saying that service is not available and encourage you to call 911,” said Brian Maydwell, executive director of the Missouri 011 Service Board. “There are communities that don’t have that. There are also communities throughout the state that do not have 911 service traditionally.”

He said each dispatch center operates individually. 

“Each jurisdiction, each county has their own ability to establish 911 service,” Maydwell said. “Establish funding for their 911 service within their community, and within their services, and how they advance their technology.”

Humphrey said letting people know about the different ways to contact 911 during a crisis is critical. 

“It would be actually great to be able to see what is taking place, who is involved,” he said. “When you ask the question, are there weapons involved? Being able to see and know what your officers are coming up on.”

To see if your community has text to 911, click here