SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Summit County has become the latest place in Utah to let people text 911 in an emergency.
Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright says not everyone can call when they’re in trouble.
“This also allows us to reach out to our deaf and hearing-impaired community, which has historically been a little bit more difficult to communicate with,” Wright says.
It could also help those who do not wish to tip off a potential attacker.
“This comes in handy for those people that may need to be quiet when they get a hold of 911. For example, if someone has broken into their home, and they’re terrified [and] not able to use their voice,” Wright says.
However, first responders still prefer that the public make a phone call if they can.
“It’s faster. When you’re talking live to someone on the telephone you can have that conversation back and forth. That information can be relayed much quicker,” Wright says.
If you are in an emergency and have to text 911, first responders ask that you send them your address or approximate location and describe what is going on. Avoid abbreviations, and do not send any photos. Also, do not send the message as part of a group chat; text 911 separately.
The Next Generation 911 system can also help track where victims are, according to Wright.
There are a number of communities in Utah that now allow people to text 911 in the case of an emergency. You can check if it’s available in your area at 911.utah.gov.
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