Residents of the County of El Paso now have an alternate way to contact 9-1-1 to request emergency assistance when calling is not possible.
Text to 9-1-1 is a new technology that allows people to send text messages to 9-1-1 from their mobile devices.
Officials say this is especially useful for people with speech or hearing impairments or when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.
They add that Text to 9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency when placing a voice call is not possible: For instance, if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.
How to text 9-1-1:
· Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
· Type the location of the emergency and why help is needed. Text in whole words, do not use abbreviations or slang.
· Push the “Send” button.
· Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
Things to know about texting to 9-1-1
· Text location information is not equal to current 9-1-1 voice call location technology. Be prepared to give the location where assistance is needed.
· As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages cantake 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 if it is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a bounce-back message from your carrier indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means, such as making a voice call or using telecommunications relay service (for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability). Bounce-back messages are intended to minimize your risk of mistakenly believing that a text to 911 has been transmitted to an emergency call center.
· Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time, nor can emoji’s, gifs, or other non-text communications.
· Texts-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone in addition to 9-1-1 (no group messaging). Also, text messaging apps which only support texting with other app users or texting via social media are not required to support text-to-911, and so may not work in an emergency.
· If you do not receive a text response from 9-1-1, Contact 9-1-1 another way.
The El Paso County 911 District is a special purpose district, a government entity created by the voters in 1987. The district’s job is to establish, maintain, and administer the 9-1-1 system in El Paso County.
To learn more about the 9-1-1 District, the public is encouraged to visit their website. Residents can also follow the Fire Department on Twitter and Facebook for updates