Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t: Text-to-9-1-1 Now Active in Leon County
Anyone experiencing an emergency in Leon County may now text 9-1-1 when calling is not an option. Text-to-9-1-1 allows anyone in need to send a text message directly to a 9-1-1 call taker. With this new functionality, it is important to remember that Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used in emergency situations where someone is unable to call 9-1-1. Some examples include if speaking would put someone in danger or the caller is deaf or speech-impaired due to a medical crisis.
“Text-to-9-1-1 is an invaluable addition to our 9-1-1 response system,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor. “Although we hope no one ever has to use it, we know emergency situations do arise and this new technology expands accessibility to life-saving services across our community.”
Calling 9-1-1 remains the quickest way to reach emergency services, though texting provides additional access for citizens who are unable to make a call. As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive or can be received out of order.
“Technology like Text-to-9-1-1 is another example of the County connecting citizens with the services they need in new and innovative ways,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “Leon County uses all available tools and technology along with our dedicated public safety professionals to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
To use the new function, users can simply send a text as they normally would. In the recipient field enter 911 with no dashes, compose the message and push send. The first text message should contain the location (or nearby landmarks) of the emergency and the type of help needed: fire, law enforcement or medical services. Please use simple words in messages and do not use abbreviations or slang. Citizens should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker. Citizens should not text photos, video or emojis to 9-1-1, as these files cannot be received through Text-to-9-1-1.
“Safety is our highest priority, and this important public safety enhancement gives residents facing an emergency another way to contact 9-1-1 dispatchers and get help,” said Interim Director of the Consolidated Dispatch Agency David Odom. “To best serve Tallahassee and Leon County, we encourage anyone experiencing an emergency to call 9-1-1 if you can and text if you can’t.”
For more information, contact Mathieu Cavell, Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 / CMR@LeonCountyFL.gov or David Odom, CDA Director at 850-606-5800 / David.Odom@TLCCDA.org.