Residents in northeastern North Carolina can now send texts to 911

Posted at 10:35 AM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 10:35:47-04

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!