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'Text to 9-1-1' in Niagara County


Mon, Sep 19th 2022 12:50 pm

Submitted by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti recently announced the Niagara County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center now has the ability to receive “Text to 9-1-1” calls from cell phones in Niagara County. The technology was part of a complete upgrade to the NCSO Motorola Vesta 9-1-1 phone system and provides 9-1-1 Dispatchers the capability of receiving “Text to 9-1-1” calls. It also prepares Niagara County for Next Generation 9-1-1, once it is implemented in New York.

Filicetti said, “The Sheriff’s Office has been working diligently to implement ‘Text to 9-1-1’ in Niagara County. This feature will give a voice to those who would otherwise be unable to make a phone call in that emergency situation. I credit the work of our communications division for overseeing this project and bringing Niagara County into the next generation of 9-1-1”

Here’s how to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

•Enter the number "911" in the "To" field.

•The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and the type of help needed.

•Push the “Send” button.

•Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

•Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations, emojis or slang.

•Keep text messages brief and concise.

A voice 9-1-1 call is still the best way for callers to exchange information with 9-1-1 dispatchers.

The National Emergency Number Association encourages the public to use the following guidelines when making a “Text to 9-1-1” call:

•Place a voice call to 9-1-1, if possible.

•Text messaging calls should only be used in extreme situations where it is unsafe to make a voice call to 9-1-1, or when a caller cannot communicate via a voice call. These situations may include:

√ Domestic violence

√ Home invasion

√ School campus violence

√ Natural disaster

√ Callers who are deaf, deaf-blind, late-deafened, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities

√ Any other situation where speaking out loud could put the citizen in further danger.

•It is important to remember that several factors may cause a text message to take longer to process than a voice call; these include:

√ A text needs to be typed

√ The message needs to travel through the system

√ The 9-1-1 dispatcher must read the text

√ The 9-1-1 dispatcher must type a response

√ Texting is not always instantaneous. As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, get out of order, or may not be received.

√ Text messages may have length limitations (i.e., 160 characters) that may cause the message to be bifurcated or cut off part of the message.

•In some instances, text messaging does not carry location information or is not equal to the current location technology with a voice 9-1-1 call; therefore, the caller should provide it in the first text message requesting help.

•“Text to 9-1-1” service provided within the boundaries of Niagara County may not be available in other areas of the state or country. If texting to 9-1-1 is unavailable in your location or temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is unavailable and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.

•“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”; fees related to sending messages could apply based on the individual device owner's service plan.

•Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.

•“Text to 9-1-1” cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.

•Do not text and drive!

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