Questions and Answers about Text-to-9-1-1
“Call if you can, Text if you can’t”
Text-to-9-1-1 refers to the ability to send text messages to the E 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center during an emergency. A limited amount of caller data is automatically provided to 9-1-1, such as the location of the nearest wireless tower site to the caller.
There are significant benefits when the caller cannot communicate verbally. For example, Text-to-9-1-1 is very useful people who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired. Text-to-9-1-1 could also help in situations when a crime is in process and the caller, fearing for their safety, cannot speak.
Yes. However, if the text lines are busy, or the caller cannot connect properly, a “bounce-back” message will be sent telling the caller: “Text-to-911 is not currently available. You must place a voice call to 9-1-1”.
Even though Text-to-9-1-1 is available in Oswego County, the best way to contact 9-1-1 continues to be by placing a voice call whenever possible.
The wireless telephone carriers provide Text-to-9-1-1 services in the format necessary for 9-1-1 to receive the text. When someone sends a Text-to-9-1-1 the text is routed through several text control points prior to arriving at 9-1-1.
How to Make a Text-to-9-1-1 Call:
Your wireless telephone must have text messaging service.
1. Unlock the cell phone keypad if it is locked. Some cell phones do not allow receiving and/or sending text messages if the keypad is locked, even though they allow a user to call 9-1-1. “Unlocking” means entering your personal password or pressing an unlock button on the phone.
2. Enter “911” in the “To” calling field.
3. Enter the text describing your location, telephone number, name and nature of your emergency.
4. Send the text message.
5. Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator call taker.
6. Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.
7. Keep text messages brief and concise.
You will know that the Text-to-9-1-1 session has been concluded when you receive the message, “End of 9-1-1 call”. After receiving this message, if you need to further communicate with 9-1-1 you will need to initiate a new text session by entering 9-1-1 in the “To” field and sending a new text message.
The Oswego County E 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department is constantly striving to meet the evolving needs of the public, and right now that means implementing a limited Text-to-9-1-1 solution.
To report non-emergency incidents, call 343-1313 or 1-800-962-4433.
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