Phoenix,AZ, USA, April 6, 2018 -- Phoenix area residents now have another option available to them when it comes to reporting emergencies. In addition to the traditional method of calling 911, now they can also text 911 operators to inform them of urgent situations.
The new service and slogan: "Call if you can. Text if you can’t," started on Monday. According to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, "You will need to type out your location to a 911 operator. The system cannot handle group texts, it’s important to note. And finally, there is no language translation capability at this time."
Twenty-six 911 call centers around Maricopa County will use the service. The service is being lauded advocates for people with disabilities. Terry Guy said, "As a speaking deaf individual, this will allow me to reach out for services and know the first responders will receive the correct information." Mayor Stanton also pointed out that it could be a vital service for people in an active shooter situation, or for victims of domestic violence who are too afraid to make a phone call.
Yet the FCC reiterated that existing voice-based 911 service is still the most reliable and preferred method of contact and also reminds users that you should always contact 911 by making a voice call if you can. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and text-to-911 is not available, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible. Finally, remember that in most cases you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message.
To check to see if the 911 call center in your area supports text-to-911, download a list of areas supporting available service online.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, April 9, 2018
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