The Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services has officially started accepting text-to-911 service for the county. This new service is available for all wireless customers and is designed to provide another way for residents to reach emergency services during an emergency situation.
While voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911, texting services will be available for those who cannot make a call. This includes individuals of different abilities who may be deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. Additionally, texting may be necessary in situations where speaking out loud could put the caller in danger.
“We’ve been working toward making this a reality for quite some time now,” said Robert Lipton, commissioner of the Putnam County Bureau Emergency Services. “The introduction of text-to-911 services is a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance public safety in Putnam County.”
“The safety and well-being of our residents is always our top priority, and this service will help ensure we can respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations,” added Sheriff Kevin McConville. “Thank you to the county executive and our partners at the Bureau of Emergency Services for making this happen.”
Callers are reminded to never text and drive. To use the text-to-911 service, callers are advised, in the first text message, to send the location and type of emergency, and to use simple words and to not use abbreviations or slang.
Callers should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the dispatcher
Text-to-911 services are only for emergencies, and abuse of this service could result in charges being filed against the caller.
Additionally, callers must be aware that there will be challenges associated with using text-to-911 services. For instance, as with all text messaging, messages may take longer to receive or may not be received at all, depending on cell service and coverage. Text-to-911 will not function in group texts.
If an individual does not receive a text response from 911, they are advised to call 911 instead.
Text-to-911 services are not available everywhere in New York and the U.S.