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Front Page - Friday, July 5, 2019

Text-to-911 service available in Hamilton Co.

Text-to-911 service is now available for residents and visitors in Hamilton County.

Sending a text to 911 instead of calling 911 can be a lifesaving option for people experiencing situations in which they can’t speak, such as home invasions or active shooter incidents, as well as for those in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, says John Stuermer, executive director for Hamilton County Emergency Communications District.

“We have been working with the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board for several years to bring this service to Hamilton County,” says Stuermer. “We’re proud that Hamilton County is the first county in Tennessee to provide text-to-911 service countywide.”

To send a text to 911, people need to enter “911” in the “To” field of their texting device followed by their location and a brief description of their emergency in the “message” field and press “send.” The caller will receive a text message response from a Public Safety Telecommunicators who will communicate with the caller to obtain additional information as needed.

Texts cannot include emoticons, photos, videos or other multimedia, and texts sent to more than one recipient will not go through. Also, if text-to-911 is not available or temporarily out of service, the sender will receive a bounce-back text message telling them to make a voice call to 911. The service is available only in English at this time.

“Traditional voice calls to 911 are still the fastest and most reliable way to reach emergency help and should always be the first option,” Stuermer says. “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

Source: Hamilton County Emergency Communications District