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If you can’t call 911, text to get help

by Grayman

There are some scenarios where calling and speaking aloud with a 911 dispatcher is not safe. Some area now provide a texting service allowing you to send a text to the number “911” as an alternative to dialing “911”.

Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device.

When involved in a hostage taking, kidnapping, hijacking, domestic disturbance, or other like emergencies; texting 911 may be the better option. It allows you to summon aid and provide critical data without alerting the hostile actor. Also, during a Life Altering Event cell towers may be overloaded with calls which could prevent you from making a phone call to anyone. Texting has shown to be more reliable during these events. In the case of emergency dispatch centers, first responders may be overburdened and dispatchers may not be able to answer your call. A text if it goes through, will still show on communication CAD systems allowing them to dispatch aid as first responders become available.

If an emergency event does not require the need to contact 911 silently, it is always best to use standard voice contact via 911 because it provides more information to 911 call centers. Always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.

Text-to-911 is only currently available in certain locations. Download the spreadsheet below to see if the service is available in your area. The file does not list locations alphabetically so run a search function in the file.

》Is it available in your area? Check here https://www.fcc.gov/file/12285/download

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