People who live in northeastern North Carolina have another way to get help in an emergency – you can now send text messages to 911.
According to Liz Hodgis, communications supervisor in Currituck County, the text-to-911 service became available there in May.
Hodgis says the idea is ‘call if you can, text if you can’t.’
That means texting may be a good option for people who are deaf or have a speech disability or are dealing with an emergency that would make it dangerous or impossible to place a phone call.
Unlike phone calls to 911, texting does not give dispatchers an exact location, so in your message make sure to provide your location.
Text-to-911 is not available across the country yet, but most of northeastern North Carolina is covered: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties
You must have a data plan with one of the four major wireless carriers to send a text to 911: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile
How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:
- Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
- The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed;
- Push the “Send” button.
- Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
- Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.
- Keep text messages brief and concise.
Below are a few things to know if you need to text 9-1-1:
- Text location information is not equal to current location technology.
- As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received.
- 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
- If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
- Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
- Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
- Do not text and drive!