Author: Kristin McKinney

Learn 9-1-1: The 9-1-1 Simulator App

Learn 9-1-1: The 9-1-1 Simulator App

Educators are continuously looking for new and innovative ways to teach citizens how to successfully call or text to 9-1-1. To make the process more engaging, the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) developed a free 9-1-1 simulator app for both Android and Apple devices. The Learn 9-1-1 simulator app was designed to be the perfect educational tool to demonstrate how to successfully reach 9-1-1.

About the App

The Learn 9-1-1 simulator app works through the activation of two separate phones. Both cellular phones are attached to one account on the Learn 9-1-1 simulator app. The app was designed to be used by a minimum of two people and gives the scenario of being a 9-1-1 caller and portraying a 9-1-1 telecommunicator.

How to use it

To use the Learn 9-1-1 simulator app, users first need an account. Users can request an account by visiting the NCT9-1-1 website and following the simple instructions. After you have submitted, go to your device’s app store, and download the Learn 9-1-1 simulator app. Once the account has been created, you will receive an email with your login credentials and how to access your account. Be advised that the email with your login credentials may be received in your Spam or Junk folder, so please ensure to check there. After receiving your login credentials, you can then access the Learn 9-1-1 simulator website to log in to your account and create an event pin. An event pin is required to utilize the app as it is shared with others you are educating or demonstrating with. Each event will require a new event pin. Upon successfully creating an event pin, the final step is entering the event pin on the Learn 9-1-1 simulator app and selecting the type of session you want to demonstrate: 9-1-1 call or a text-to-9-1-1 session.


The Learn 9-1-1 simulator app was designed to be user friendly and functional. NCT9-1-1 wants to make learning how to successfully call 9-1-1 as easy as possible! If you have questions related to the 9-1-1 simulator app, please email the 9-1-1 Operations Team at

Texas Alert Codes and Their Meaning

Texas Alert Codes and Their Meaning

In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS) coordinates with different agencies known as the State Network to disseminate public safety information in the form of alert codes. These agencies include the Texas Department of Transportation, the National Weather Service, Law Enforcement, the Media, the Texas Lottery Commission, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The goal of the State Network is to rapidly notify the public of urgent public safety situations, specific missing person cases, and law enforcement to tips and leads.


Alert codes can be issued anywhere in the state of Texas, including statewide. Each alert code can be displayed on multiple different outlets including but not limited to SMS alerts, billboards, overhead signs, etc. Below are the official names of the different alert code types:


· Silver

· Blue

· Endangered Missing Person

· Camo


· Power Outage

· Active Shooter



The AMBER alert is an acronym that stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response alert. The AMBER alert was the first in the nation to be established created and was created in response to the kidnapping and death of nine year old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas. AMBER alerts are activated for children 17 years of age or younger whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose disappearance has been determined by law enforcement to be unwilling, which poses a credible threat to the child’s life.

Silver Alert

The Silver alert was created to notify the public of missing elderly adults with documented mental conditions. Specifically, for those who suffer from various mental conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and or other forms of dementia.


Blue Alert

The Blue alert was created to speed in the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously wound local, state, or federal law enforcement officers. During Blue alerts, the public receives information regarding the suspected assailant, facilitating tips and leads to law enforcement.


Endangered Missing Person

The Endangered Missing Person alert was created for those with intellectual disabilities (Autism, Developmental Disorders et.) who are missing. The Endangered Missing Person alert is disseminated for missing persons of any age with an intellectual disability.


Camo Alert

The Camo alert was created to notify the public of a missing current or former member of the United States armed forces.



The CLEAR alert stands for the Coordinated Law Enforcement Adult Rescue (CLEAR) alert. The CLEAR alert was created to close the gap between missing children and senior citizens (individuals between 18 and 64 years of age). The CLEAR alert serves to assist law enforcement in locating and rescuing missing, kidnapped, or abducted adults who are in immediate danger as well as aid in locating any potential suspects. The name of the CLEAR alert honors victims to violence which led to the CLEAR alert legislation: Cayley Mandadi, D’Lisa Kelley, Erin Castro, Ashanti Billie, and the Rest.


Power Outage Alert

The Power Outage alert is designed to notify Texas broadcasters when the power supply won’t meet the demand for the state or region. Once this alert is disseminated, broadcasters will provide useful information to the public of the potential grid emergency as well as resource information from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) with oversight of grid operations in Texas. The PUC and any of the four independent organizations may request activation of the power outage alert network when the power supply does not meet the demand for the state or a region. The four independent organizations with oversight to the grid operation in Texas are the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Midwest Reliability Organization, Southeast Reliability Corporation, and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.


Active Shooter Alert

The Active Shooter Alert was created to alert people in proximity of active shooter situations. The goal of this alert is to save lives and prevent mass violence by notifying the public of nearby active shooter situations and encouraging them to avoid the area or shelter in place.


For more information related to the different types of alert codes, please visit the TX DPS website.

A Boot Scootin’ Boogie look into the annual 9-1-1 Gala!

A Boot Scootin’ Boogie look into the annual 9-1-1 Gala!

Every year, the North Central Texas Emergency Communication District (NCT9-1-1) hosts a 9-1-1 Gala to honor and commemorate 9-1-1 telecommunicators, supervisors, trainers, public educators, and Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) within the NCT9-1-1 service area. The 9-1-1 Gala is 100% sponsored and is possible due to the gracious support from vendors. The event brings together representatives from the NCT9-1-1 service area to reflect upon the past year and acknowledge those that went above and beyond.


History of the 9-1-1 Gala

Prior to 2020, NCT9-1-1 hosted luncheons during a quarterly ECC Supervisor meeting where awards were presented in various categories. After years of doing this, the Operations team evaluated the possibility of transforming the awards luncheon into something bigger. Months of researching what others did led to a thought becoming a reality. The first 9-1-1 Gala was to be held in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the event from occurring. After two years of waiting, NCT9-1-1 hosted the first 9-1-1 Gala in April 2022 during National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This was the first entertaining event that NCT9-1-1 hosted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the smiling faces of those that attended were a welcomed sight.


The 2023 9-1-1 Gala

The 2023 9-1-1 Gala theme was Texas. ECC representatives, NCT9-1-1 staff members, and vendor sponsors dusted off their boots and enjoyed a night of fun, food, dancing, and awards. With over 200 guests in attendance, the 2023 9-1-1 Gala was a momentous success.


The recipients of the 2023 9-1-1 Gala awards were as followed:

  • 2022 Agency of the year- Hood County Sheriff’s Office
  • 2022 Telecommunicator of the Year – Cody Quebedeaux, Allen Police Department
  • 2022 Telecommunications Team of the Year – Navarro County Sheriff’s Office
  • 2022 Supervisor of the Year – Tyler Brown, Hood County Sheriff’s Office
  • 2022 Public Education Professional of the Year – Jaime Gibson, Allen Police Department
  • 2022 Training Professional of the Year – Jennifer Hampton, Ellis County Sheriff’s Office
  • 2022 TDD/TTY Above and Beyond – Prosper Police Department
  • 2022 Professionalism Awards-
  • Emily Sartor, Collin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Elyssa Ellis, Corsicana Police Department
  • Jenny Leyva, Corsicana Police Department
  • Debra Murray, Ellis County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cherise Cubberly, Frisco Police Department
  • Katelyn Giesemann, McKinney Police Department
  • Kaylei Hickey, Weatherford Police Department


NCT9-1-1 is thankful for the generosity and support of the vendor sponsorship as the 9-1-1 Gala could not have been hosted without them. Thank you to RapidDeploy, Synergem Technologies, Datamark, and Mission Critical Partners. Also, thank you to Cathy Kim Le photography for her voluntary services of capturing wonderful memories and It’s Your Night DJ services for the impressive dance music mix.

National Technology Day featuring Ramya Cruz-Chacko and Kasey Cox

National Technology Day featuring Ramya Cruz-Chacko and Kasey Cox

May 11th is known as National Technology Day. This day is celebrated each year to commemorate the importance of researchers, scientists, engineers, and other professionals related to the field of science and technology and honor their hard work in technological advancements. National Technology Day was first celebrated on May 11, 1999, and was established to raise awareness about how technology is developed and to celebrate technology professionals. This National Technology Day, the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) would like to highlight two women working in technology, specifically within the public safety sector. Combined, Ramya Cruz-Chacko, 9-1-1 Network Engineer, and Kasey Cox, 9-1-1 GIS Data Administrator, have over 25 years’ experience in the technology industry. This National Technology Day, Ramya and Kasey sat down with Destanie Ontiveros, 9-1-1 Communications Coordinator, to discuss their experience working within the technology industry, specifically the public safety sector, to share their successes and to offer advice to other technology professionals.

Ramya Cruz-Chacko

Although Ramya was always interested in pursuing a career in technology, she did not know her passion was network technology within 9-1-1. Following in her brother’s footsteps to pursue a bachelor’s degree in technology, Ramya found her interest in network technology after she graduated. Ramya later moved to Canada to pursue her master’s in internetworking. When asked what interested her in network technology, Ramya said, “I was always curious as to how and why things work the way they do and watching my work come to life is very rewarding.” As far as finding the niche for network technology within 9-1-1 services, Ramya found her purpose by serving the public in providing the best technology solutions for 9-1-1 services. Ramya said her calling has always been to serve the public, specifically by working on network technology for 9-1-1 services. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to serve the community, especially on technology that is so important. Even though technology people aren’t necessarily seen or heard by the public, we still make a difference. We work on the technology that people rely on to call 9-1-1, and that is the most rewarding aspect to my job.”, said Ramya.

When asked what a typical workday as a 9-1-1 Network Engineer looked like, Ramya said, “Being in the technical field means anything could go wrong, so I don’t have set day to day tasks per say, I work on table stakes, new projects, and troubleshooting”. Ramya has worked on a lot of new projects that are completely new to 9-1-1 technology services and must be created from scratch. A lot of Ramya’s job consists of research, learning, testing, and implementing new technology via labs where she and her team of engineers can mock or test the newly developed technology and deploy it.

When it comes to staying up to date on new technology advances, Ramya listens to podcasts about the new technology trends and headlines. Ramya also keeps in communication with other network engineers to discuss the latest and greatest technology trends. One of Ramya’s biggest accomplishments in her career was leading and deploying a new network virtualization technology. During this project, Ramya studied new technology, scripted over 50 configuration files for more than 20 devices between all three DC sites. During this project, several hosts were migrated to the EVPN network with assistance from other NCT9-1-1 technology experts.

Regarding any advice or tips for other people interested in pursuing a career in technology, Ramya encourages more women to join the technology field. “Technology is considered a male dominated field, but even so, women can do this and be successful.”, said Ramya. Ramya encourages more women, especially those who are in school, to think about technology and learn whether they’d like to pursue it. Ramya believes that being a technology professional is very rewarding, especially within the public safety industry.

Kasey Cox

Kasey didn’t always know she wanted to pursue a career in GIS Technology. Kasey originally wanted to be in the environmental science field, which she was. Kasey was actively working as an environmental scientist when she realized it wasn’t for her. Kasey received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and soon realized she enjoyed her GIS focused courses more than the environmental science work. Kasey soon went back to school to earn her Master of Science in Spatial Science when she truly found her interest. Kasey decided to go into Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) technology because she was not enjoying urban environmental science.

As the 9-1-1 GIS Data Administrator for NCT9-1-1, Kasey’s biggest responsibility is to ensure the public safety systems are frequently updated successfully and accurately. Currently, the GIS team at NCT9-1-1 updates the public safety systems twice a week. Another responsibility of Kasey’s is to always look for ways to speed up the workflow on these public safety systems and identify new ways to improve the systems. Kasey’s day to day tasks include monitoring the health of the systems and services that allow the team to collect data from county partners to be reviewed. Kasey also processes the updates and provisions them out to the Next Generation 9-1-1 system. Aside from those big tasks, Kasey also manages the servers that allow data sharing between the open data portals and the public facing web app that are used by county officials and other essential agencies such as post offices.

“My whole experience with GIS has been that it helps other people in some way.”, Kasey mentioned when describing a reason her GIS technology job is rewarding to her. GIS technology is used in all aspects of the world, to implement this technology towards 9-1-1 services is very important and helpful to the public safety industry. “In this role, all the GIS work we do is to help citizens get 9-1-1 services as quickly as possible, and that’s why it matters”, said Kasey. GIS is always done to help others in some way, so to use this technology to help citizens receive better 9-1-1 services is rewarding for Kasey.

When it comes to staying up to date on current GIS technology breakthroughs or news, Kasey mentions the resources she uses from the tight knit GIS community. A lot of the regional GIS community meetings or user groups help Kasey to stay up to date. The ESRI software is also a big resource Kasey uses to stay up to date and grow her knowledge. ESRI offers many webinars that showcase new GIS technologies or new ways of using GIS technology. GIS is a multi-facet industry that allows for many different opportunities to work and improve the use of GIS technology. “Sometimes, hearing about what another GIS team has done really challenges you to think how you can tweak your workflow to make it more efficient.”, said Kasey.

Kasey’s proudest project to date has been creating the current dispatcher base maps. Kasey worked endlessly on this project with the help of her GIS team to ensure the project was successful. Kasey essentially learned a new software to use for the project and learned how to reconfigure maps. Now that this mapping technology has been completed and published, it is available and used in all 40+ of the Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) within NCT9-1-1’s service area and the public web app. Kasey still works on this project continuously applying updates and other maintenance functionalities.

Kasey would like to thank other GIS technology professionals within the public safety industry and says it is an honor to work alongside them. Some tips Kasey has for other GIS technology professionals is to keep working on the GIS data because it is the future for Next Generation 9-1-1, and that she is immensely proud of all the work other GIS professionals have put forth so far. “For people just finding out about GIS, it’s a really fun industry and is a great tool that can be used by any industry out there, so I encourage you to go for it!”, said Kasey when asked about any other tips for future GIS professionals.