9-1-1: Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce that it has begun accepting text-to-9-1-1 service for Columbia County. Wireless customers subscribing to Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile can now send a text (up to 140 characters) to 9-1-1 in an emergency. Text to 9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency situation, when placing a call is not possible. This system will allow an emergency response for callers that are deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would jeopardize the safety of the caller.
This is a migration toward the next generation of 9-1-1 capabilities. There are only six other agencies throughout the State of Georgia currently providing this service, and this is believed to be the first in our area. By utilizing TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) as a vendor and integrating with existing equipment, Sheriff Whittle has provided this service with no additional cost to taxpayers. July, 2015 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and this service should prove beneficial to those that are speech or hearing impaired.
If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, remember these steps:
* Don’t text and drive
* In the first text message send the location and type of emergency.
* Text in simple words - Send a short text message without abbreviations or slang.
* Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
Don’t Abuse 9-1-1—Text-to-9-1-1 service is ONLY for emergencies.
* It is a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report. Prank-texters can be located.
The Text-to-9-1-1 service may have challenges.
* A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-9-1-1
* As with all text messages, messages to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
* Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
* Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
* Voice Calls to 9-1-1 Are Still the Best and Fastest Way to Contact 9-1-1
Text-to-9-1-1 service is not available everywhere in Georgia and the U.S.