AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s something we often hear, “Call 911 if there’s an emergency.” What if calling just isn’t an option? Now, you can send a text.
“It’s a service that allows any citizen that has to call our center who is rendered for whatever reason unable to speak the ability to text a request for first responders,” said Melinda Shonk with Montgomery Emergency Communications.
Both Montgomery and Auburn police are offering the service.
“It helps out a lot for situations where people may be in duress, or with a hearing impairment, or any type of situation where they can’t verbally communicate,” said Auburn Police Capt. Clarence Stewart.
“And the operator will see an indicator on their screen that they are receiving an emergency text message. They will pull it up and begin to communicate with that citizen in just the same way that people communicate by text and they will process their emergency that way,” Shonk said.
Police say one of the most important things to remember when texting 911 is to include your location, that way police know exactly where to go.
“The most important thing would be location and type of incident,” Stewart said.
While texting is necessary in some cases, police say that calling 911 should always be your first choice if you are able to do so.
Right now texting 911 is available in about 80 percent of Alabama. It’s estimated to be available statewide by next summer.