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Posted on: September 25, 2019

Text to 9-1-1 service now ready

Text 911 now available. Call if you can, text if you can't with a picture of a mobile phone.

East Texas Council of Governments’ Regional 9-1-1 Program is pleased to announce the availability of Text to 9-1-1 service in Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Gregg, Marion, Panola, Rains, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood Counties.  

To use the new service, users can simply send a text as they would normally. In the recipient field enter 911, compose the message and push send. Once a text is sent, the 9-1-1 system will send an automated message asking the individual texting for the address of the emergency. This starts the text session between 9-1-1 and the individual needing emergency help.

It is important to remember that text to 9-1-1 services should only be used in an emergency situation when someone is unable to speak. Examples include if the person is deaf, hard-of hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would put the individual in danger. Text to 9-1-1 also provides a silent alternative in cases such as a child abduction, active shooter or domestic abuse.

When texting 9-1-1, you need to know your exact location and the nature of your emergency. Use simple language and no abbreviations or slang. Please do not text and drive. Pull over to a safe location before sending a text to 9-1-1. If you are able, please call 9-1-1. It takes longer to get all the information when communicating through text messages.

Currently you can only text 9-1-1 with the four major wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. If you are in an area where texting service is not available to 9-1-1, you will receive a ‘bounce back’ message telling you to make a voice call. 

Simple Steps to Texting 9-1-1 in an Emergency

  1. Enter the numbers 911 in the “To” field.
  2. The first text you send should be a short explanation of emergency with the location of that emergency and the type of help needed. 
  3. Push the “Send” button to send the text to 9-1-1. 
  4. The 9-1-1 call-taker will text back any specific questions that will help them in getting you the emergency response quickly. Please make sure to answer all questions. 
  5. Remember to text in simple language and do not use abbreviations or emojis.

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