August 30, 2021
Text to 9-1-1 is now in Pickerington! Pickerington Police Chief Tod Cheney recently announced that Text to 9-1-1 is now available within the City of Pickerington. Chief Cheney said the service has just finished testing with the four major wireless carriers (Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T) and is now operational in the Pickerington Police Departments 9-1-1 Communications Center.
The service can connect cellular devices to 9-1-1 Dispatchers via text messages. Text messaging is one of the primary ways people communicate today, especially young people. Text to 9-1-1 can provide a significant benefit, especially when a caller cannot communicate verbally.
Situations in which Text to 9-1-1 can be used include when the caller is hard of hearing, deaf, or speech impaired; when a crime is in progress and a 9-1-1 voice call might create danger, such as a home-invasion; when the caller is facing domestic abuse, or when the caller is injured or having a medical emergency and cannot speak. The ability to text 9-1-1 dispatchers can be a life-saving resource.
Cheney stressed that Text to 9-1-1 does not replace voice calling. “Text to 9-1-1 is an option for the hearing impaired and those who are in a situation where they may not be able to speak for safety reasons. However, voice calling 9-1-1 is still the preferred method, because its speeds up the process of getting emergency services on the way to those in need.” said Cheney. “It’s very easy to use and works just like a regular text conversation you may have with friends and family.”
Another texting feature that the Pickerington Police Department will be using is for 911 hang up calls that come in to the dispatch center from a cell phone. The software will send out an automatic text message advising the phone user that we have received a 911 hang up call from their phone number and to send a reply confirming there is not an actual emergency. This feature will save the dispatcher’s time and resources calling back on accidental dials and hang up calls, which make up approximately 30% of 911 calls received.
The system was paid for through a State of Ohio grant and through the Fairfield County wireless 911 fund.
Chief Cheney offered the following tips for using Text to 9-1-1:
How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:
Below are a few things to remember about texting 9-1-1: