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Text-to-9-1-1 services available in Walker County

New service expands emergency options

Walker County residents now will be able to use a “Text-to-911” service according to The Gulf Coast Regional 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District (GCRECD).

The service will be available to residents in Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Liberty, Matagorda, Waller, and Wharton counties as well. Text-to-9-1-1 is a service that allows cell phone users to send a text message directly to 9-1-1 for assistance when they can’t make a voice call.

“If you find yourself in an emergency where you are unable to speak or hear, simply enter 911 in the recipient field of your text messaging application, clearly tell us your location and your emergency, and push send,” said Kimberly Ward, Program Manager for the GCRECD. “Once your text is sent, the 9-1-1 system will acknowledge that your message was received, and a 9-1-1 call taker will assist you.”

Text-to-9-1-1 is available through all four major wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. If you are in an area where Text-to-9-1-1 service is not available, you will receive a ‘bounce-back’ message telling you to make a voice call.

The traditional method of calling 9-1-1 remains the fastest, most effective way to reach help.

For more information about Text-to-9-1-1 in Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Liberty, Matagorda, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties, visit www.gulfcoast911.org.

When to Use Text-to-9-1-1

 

Text-to-9-1-1 services should only be used in an emergency when the person needing assistance is unable to speak or hear.

Examples include if the person is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech impaired or when the emergency has affected the person’s ability to speak or hear.

Text-to-9-1-1 provides an alternative when speaking out loud would put the person in danger, such as an abduction; active shooter; home intruder; or domestic abuse.

Tips for Successfully Texting 9-1-1

 

Text messages should include simple language.

Text messages should not include abbreviations, slang, pictures, or emojis.

You should not text and drive but should pull over to a safe location before texting 9-1-1.

You must have a text or data plan on your cell phones to use Text-to-9-1-1

About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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