Citizens who cannot place a call to 911 in an emergency now have the alternative option to text for police, fire or medical response.  Texts should only be used under circumstances when callers are unable to call for help. Calling 911 is still the best way to share information with emergency telecommunicators for a quick response countywide. Citizens who use text-to-911 should remember the following tips before sending a message: 

  • Always call 911 if you can; text the number 911 if you can’t 
  • Send a brief message including your address and description of the emergency 
  • Do not send pictures, videos or emojis; avoid using slang  
  • 911 telecommunicators can only respond to texts in English; multilingual translators are available for voice calls placed to 911 
  • Stay available to respond to texts from 911 until released by the telecommunicator

Pinellas County Regional 911 telecommunicators are trained to respond immediately to texts and will dispatch help as soon as they receive information about the caller’s location and the nature of their emergency. 

The new capability will be of particular benefit to citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing as an alternative to using a TTY or telecommunications relay service. 

The text-to-911 service is the result of a partnership between Pinellas County and major mobile carriers in the community, supporting the county’s mission to ensure public health, safety and welfare. 

SOURCE: Largo.com