Indiana’s Board of 911 recently announced the Text-to-911 program, where Hoosiers will now be able to text 911 in case of an emergency.
There are things you will need to know before hitting send.
Only people who carry Verizon Wireless can currently use the technology. Other phone carriers, which include AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, do not provide the service, but are expected to do so by the end of this year.
While texting may be more convenient than calling, it might not be the best option. According to Statewide 911 Board Executive Director Barry Ritter, it is best for those in emergencies to call. In cases where voices cannot be used like those who are deaf, speaking impaired or in hostage situations, using text-to-911 is appropriate.
Because it takes the call center longer to receive a text than a phone call, emergency response time may be affected.
Ritter also said the person sending the text will have to give their location first because dispatchers cannot track the exact location where the text was sent unlike a traditional phone call.
The people at the dispatch center will be able to respond back via text though, and there is no extra charge for those who use the service.