Douglas County rolls out 'Text-To-911' service

Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 8:39 AM PST
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Douglas County 9-1-1 Emergency Services representing the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and fire agencies in Douglas and Alpine County announced Text-to-9-1-1 service is available countywide. This means the 9-1-1 Emergency Services Center is now equipped to receive and respond to mobile phone Text-to-9-1-1 messages from citizens.

The service is for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1.

The county says benefits are significant, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally like during a domestic abuse situation, the caller could be injured and cannot speak, or other scenarios.

County Emergency officials say even where text-to-9-1-1 is available, if you can make a voice call to 9-1-1, do that instead of texting.

The county issued guidelines below outlining how to contact 9-1-1. If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

  • If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”
  • If you are deaf and hard of hearing and Text-to-9-1-1 is not available, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.
  • If you text 9-1-1 and text is not available at that time or in your area, you will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”
  • Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Be prepared to give your location.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.
  • Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain popular abbreviations (SMH, LOL, ICYMI) or emojis, which will not be recognized.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  • Texts must be in English only. There currently is no language interpretation for text available. This is still in development.

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