VCSO Announces “Text To 911” Service

By on September 21, 2018 in WNDB News

DeLand, FL – If someone finds themselves in a bad situation where they’re unable to call 911, there’s a new way to call, or text, for help.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is now announcing a new service that is available to county residents, “Text To 911.” The service will be available to anyone with the capability of texting on a cellphone, and is in place if someone is unable to speak. Sheriff Mike Chitwood took to VCSO’s Facebook to offer a brief rundown of the new service’s capabilities.

The biggest thing VCSO wants to remind people, is that they call 911 first if they can, but if they absolutely cannot they can text instead.

For those that may be worried about if their text was received or not, any message that is unable to be delivered will send back a “bounce back” message saying “make a voice call to 911 for help; text to 911 is not available.”

Response time is critical during an emergency. It’s possible for the service to increase the emergency response time.  Additionally, texting to 911 is not a universal service.  While currently available in the Central Florida area counties of Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, Orange and Osceola, it is not available in all areas.

Insufficient access to wireless or cellular service may cause the text message to be delayed or not received by the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).  Text messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, or other social media messenger apps are not supported by the new service.

Here is a brief guide on how to make a text

  1. Enter 911 into the “To” field of your text message
  2. Make a brief text that includes your location and the type of emergency
  3. Be prepared to answer questions
  4. Text in simple words, do not use slang or abbreviations.

There is also a list of key points VCSO would like to remind people of with the new texting service.

  1. Texting local information is not equal to current location technology
  2. Text to 911 is only available in English.
  3. As with all text messages, 911 messages could take longer to receive.
  4. Text to 911 is NOT available if you are roaming.
  5. A text or data plan is required to place a text message to 911
  6. Avoid using slang, social media jargon or abbreviations
  7. Do not send emojis
  8. Do not send group messages



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