Baxter County implements ‘Text-to-911’

Like Marion County last month, Baxter County has implemented the “Text-to-911” feature, allowing individuals who cannot safely make a voice call to dial 911 in emergencies.

A Facebook post reports the Baxter County Public Safety Communications 911 Center implemented the new service Thursday.

Testing for Text-to-911 has been completed in Baxter County and is available with plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Text-to-911 may not be available outside of Baxter County service areas. If a text is made to 911 where that service is not available, a message will be sent back to the phone advising the customer to make a voice call.

Situations when Text-to-911 is appropriate include deaf, hard of hearing callers, or individuals with a speech disability; a caller unable to speak due to a medical or other condition; and emergency situations that would put the caller in danger if making a voice call.

Examples of an emergency situation include abduction, domestic violence and an active shooter situation.

When texting to 911, callers should provide their exact address or location, explain the type of emergency or help being requested, be prepared to answer any questions the 911-telecommunicator texts back and use plain language. Do not use abbreviations, symbols, emoticons, or photos.

Messages should be brief and concise. Texting 911 can be done by typing “911” in the “field” for a phone number. No other numbers need to be used. Texting should be done through wireless phones text messaging service and not from third party texting applications.

Text-to-911 requires an active telephone service plan with data.

The best way to contact 911 is by making a voice call. However, Text-to-911 can be utilized in emergency circumstances where a voice call is not possible or safe.

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