Monroe County 911 Center, the Monroe County Commission, and Indigital (Texty) launched their new collaborative “Text to 911” system on Wednesday, in which users will be able to send text messages to 911 dispatchers, enabling them to request help when a phone call isn’t possible.
This means that if you are within the Monroe County limits, you will be able to text 911 in an emergency.
“Calling 911 is still the fastest way to get help,” said 911/Office Emergency Services Director Richard Miller. “Texting takes longer than talking on the phone, and location tracking technology is not the same with texting 911 as with a phone call. Also, voice calls allow for dispatchers to hear background noise that could provide critical information.” Calling is Director Miller’s preferred method of requesting help.
“However, there are many situations where someone is unable to make a voice call for help, and that’s where Text-to-911 comes in,” said Director Miller. “Text-to-911 is a great resource for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, have a speech disability, or having a medical emergency where they are unable to speak on the phone. It is also helpful for situations where it may not be safe for someone make a voice call because it would attract attention, such as during a home burglary or domestic violence situation.”
The Director points out that if callers choose to text 911, it is important to include the location of the emergency and type of emergency in the first text message, to get help as soon as possible.
How it works:
• Enter the numbers 911 into the “to” field.
• In the first message, text the location and type of emergency.
• Text in plain English, without abbreviations or slang.
• Respond to questions from the 911 dispatcher.
• Follow instructions the same as a voice call.
• If you accidently send a text to 911, send a reply indicating that you have made a mistake.
Text-to-911 is for use in an emergency only. Promptly answer questions so 911 dispatchers can determine that there is no emergency and you are not in danger. The 911 Center does have the abilities to tract/trace the call after texting 911.
If you do not receive a text response from 911, contact 911 another way. As with all text messages, texts to 911 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all. You must have mobile phone and wireless carrier that allows you to send and receive text messages for text-to-911 to work.
Most all major cell phone carriers are participating in Monroe County, including: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Major VOIP vendors (Internet phone service).
What happens if I try to text 911 in an area where texting 911 isn’t available?
You will receive an automated reply stating that Text-to-911 is not available in the area, and you will need to reach 911 another way.
Can I send photos or videos via text to the dispatchers?
Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 centers at this time.
For more information, including other frequently asked questions, visit: Follow on Facebook at “Monroe County 911” https://www.facebook.com/MonroeCountyWV911, Call non-emergency number 304/772-3912 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit us on the Monroe County website: www.monroecountywv.gov.