The Highland Park Department of Public Safety has added a new communication tool to its dispatch center: Text to 9-1-1.
“Call if you can – text if you can’t,” is the slogan penned by the Federal Communications Commission to describe this newest form of 9-1-1 notifications. Text to 9-1-1 was designed to assist those who are hearing or speech impaired, and those individuals who simply – due to the nature and circumstances of the emergency – are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1.
The new service is not intended to replace calling in an emergency, but as a supplement when needed, officials said.
Rick Pyle, director of public safety, said Text 9-1-1 allows for two-way communication so that dispatchers have the ability to communicate back and forth to gather as much information as possible.
Highland Park DPS can receive text messages from the following carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Here are a few tips on how to use the service.
- Open the text messaging application within your smartphone and enter “911” in the “To” field
- Initially, the text message to “911” should be brief, but contain vital location such as 1) Location of the emergency; and 2) Type of emergency
- After typing the emergency information into the free form text box, press the “send” button
- Upon successful receipt of the Text to 9-1-1 message, a dispatcher will reply to your message. Note: Placing your phone on silent may prevent anyone from being alerted to your location, or that you’ve notified 9-1-1 by a text message.
- The dispatcher may need additional information about the emergency. Be prepared to respond to the dispatcher.
- When using Text to 9-1-1, do not send a “group text” as this may prevent the message being delivered to 9-1-1.
- Do not text and drive.