by JUANELL JONES
Lynn County’s emergency 9-1-1 system is now capable of accepting an emergency text to 9-1-1, which can be used in an emergency if someone is unable to make a regular voice call to 9-1-1. The upgrade to the 9-1-1 system is not only to the Lynn County 9-1-1 emergency system but the entire South Plains area as well, according to information this week from the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office.
“As of Jan. 28, Lynn County can now accept emergency texts to 9-1-1,” said Lt. Luis Vasquez, Communications Supervisor at the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office. “However, this option should only be used in situations when someone is unable to make a voice call,” he explained.
Texting to 9-1-1 is a good option if someone is deaf or hard of hearing, or if a person’s safety could be compromised if speaking out loud. Such situations might include domestic violence, home invasions, abductions, or school shootings.
Texting to 9-1-1 is no different than sending a normal text message. Simply enter 911 in the recipient field, compose a message, and then press send. If Text to 9-1-1 is not available in an area, then the sender will receive a bounceback text message that requests that you call 9-1-1 for help.
“Whenever possible, you should always make a voice call to 9-1-1 for the quickest help,” says Vasquez. Just like other text messages, delays are possible, which is why it is always best to call 9-1-1 if able.
Please note, Text to 9-1-1 cannot receive video or pictures via text messages at this time.
As with voice calls to 9-1-1, texting to 9-1-1 should only be used in true emergencies. If you accidentally call or text 9-1-1, do not hang up – stay on the line and explain to the 9-1-1 dispatcher that the call was an accident.
The telephone number 911 is for emergency calls in North America. To use it for any other type of calls, such as a prank call, could be considered a crime. Some Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) report that 15%–20% of incoming 911 calls are non-emergencies. An emergency is a life-threatening situation where every second counts, such as a heart attack, uncontrolled asthma attack, child birth in progress, any event involving large amounts of blood, uncontrolled fire, a life-threatening event such as a knife fight, an armed robbery in progress, or a serious car accident (not a fender bender).
Did you know?
- Over 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. each year.
- The first-ever 911 call in the United States happened on February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Alabama. It wasn’t until 1999 that Congress directed the FCC to make 911 the universal emergency number for the United States for all telephone services.
From the February 7th, 2019 Edition of the Lynn County News