City of Decatur Police launches 9-1-1 text messaging for emergencies

September 2, 20163min20300
text 911 emergency
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text 911 emergency

The City of Decatur Police Department is using cell phone technology for emergency calls. Now, the public can send a text message to 9-1-1 as an integrated service to the department’s 9-1-1 network. Thorough testing has been conducted and texts to 9-1-1 is live, for the public inside the City limits of Decatur.

Texting to 9-1-1 provides accessibility to the hearing and speech impaired population and provides an alternative to reach help in a dangerous situation when a voice call is not possible or where a voice call fails due to a high volume of phone activity but texting is successful.

How to text to 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 911 call taker.
  • Text in simple words- do not use abbreviations.
  • Keep the text message brief and concise.

When to text to 9-1-1:

  • If you are hearing impaired.
  • When a voice call could increase a threat.
  • If you are injured and cannot speak.
  • If you are in a remote location and can only send a text message.

Currently, the four major carriers; AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have agreed to offer the text to 9-1-1 service. However, this does not mean that the service is available in all areas. If out of the area, you will receive a message stating that the text service is not available and to call 9-1-1. Photos, videos and other attachments cannot currently be sent to 911 via text, although these capabilities will be available in the future.

The Police Department reminds the public to “CALL IF YOU CAN, TEXT IF YOU MUST.”

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