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Delaware County launches 911 text service

(Photo: Pixabay / MGN ONLINE)

Starting Monday, those with an emergency will be able to text for emergency services if they are unable to call.

The Delaware County Board of Commissioners shared Monday was the official launch of the county’s “Text to 9-1-1” service.

The commissioners said the dispatcher would be able to respond and continue communicating with the sender via text.

"The dispatcher will be able to respond and continue communicating with the sender via text," said the commissioners in a release. "It is anticipated this service will save lives when a sender is in an emergency situation where remaining silent is necessary or where speaking is not possible."

Board president Gary Merrell added, "This additional 9-1-1 service will mean a lot to our hearing-impaired residents and those visiting our county who may be hearing impaired as well. It is important to Delaware County to protect all of our residents and visitors.”

The director of the Delaware County Emergency Communications Department told the commissioners that the service has been certified by all major wireless carriers including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Director Patrick Brandt added that staff has been trained in the service's usage. Brandt said users will need to be as specific as possible when it comes to location. He also said it would benefit the caller to send an initial text then call back in times they would need to be silent.

“If we can hear what’s happening,” Brandt said, “that will help a lot.”

Brandt said that while the vast majority of users in Delaware County will have access to the service, there is the possibility that a text sent from a location close to any of Delaware County’s borders will be transmitted to a cell tower in the next county.

The sender would then get a response saying the text could not be sent said Brandt.

“The 9-1-1 Center still prefers everyone to call 9-1-1,” Brandt said. “However, Text to 9-1-1 will definitely give us more options.”

More information about the service and Delaware County can be found here.

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