Brazoria County announced this week that Text-to-911 service is now available throughout Brazoria County. Authorities still recommend calling 911 if at all possible, but say in instances when making a voice call may not be an option, those in need of emergency service can instead send a text to 911.
To text 911 in an emergency, enter the numbers 911 in the “to” field, type a brief message containing the location of the emergency and the type of help needed, then push the “send” button.
Texters should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 dispatcher. Text messages to 911 should not contain abbreviations, slang or emojis, nor should photos or any other attachments be included.
Additional information from the website.
Text To 9-1-1
Text to 9-1-1 service is now available in the Gulf Coast 9-1-1 eight-county region. This service is offered by all providers to mobile customers with a text or data plan.
Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t
Voice calls are still the best and fastest way to contact 9-1-1. Text to 911 should only be used in an emergency and in circumstances when you cannot safely call 911.
When it’s Best to Call 9-1-1
- To report a crime in progress.
- To report a fire.
- To save a life.
- Anytime an emergency response is required by law enforcement, fire or emergency medical personnel.
When Texting 9-1-1 Might be Better Than Calling
- If you have a hearing or speech disability.
- If you are unable, for medical reasons, to speak into the phone.
- If your safety would be compromised if you spoke out loud – for example, during a home invasion or abduction.
- If your cell signal isn’t strong enough for a voice call to go through.
Things to Remember When Sending a Text to 9-1-1
- Include your exact location and the nature of your emergency.
- Use clear, simple language. Abbreviations and slang may create more confusion and delay response time.
- Do not text and drive. Not only is this dangerous, but it is illegal in most states. Please pull over to a safe location and stop your car prior to sending a text to 9-1-1.
- Do not copy other people on a text sent to 9-1-1.
- Don’t attach pictures or videos to a text message to 911.
- If you are in an area where text to 9-1-1 service is not available, you will get a “bounce back” message telling you to make a voice call instead.
- Silence the ringtone on your phone if the noise may compromise your safety. If you stop responding to text messages from the 9-1-1 center, the dispatcher may need to call to check on your safety.
When Not to Call or Text 9-1-1
- When there is no emergency.
- If an animal is hurt or lost (Call your city or county animal services instead).
- As a joke or prank.
- To report that electricity or other utilities are off.
- To report traffic jams.
- To ask about government services or general information.
- Most importantly, remember to call if you can and text only when you can’t call. Providing essential information to a 9-1-1 telecommunicator is much faster by voice than text because texting is not always instantaneous.
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