PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Aug. 20, 2020 –The Calvert County Department of Public Safety announces that the Calvert County 911 call center is now accepting text messages through text-to-911 service.

Customers of the three major wireless carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile (including former Sprint customers) and Verizon – who are enrolled in a text messaging plan can send text messages to 911 in an emergency when they are unable to place a phone call. This includes those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired, those who may find themselves in a situation where placing a voice call could put them in danger, or those who are experiencing a medical emergency and are unable to speak.

“We are thrilled to launch text-to-911 service in Calvert County,” said Public Safety Director Jackie Vaughan. “While a phone call is still the preferred way to contact 911, the ability to send a text message to 911 gives residents and visitors better access to emergency services, particularly for those who may have difficulty placing a voice call.”

The procedure is simple to send a text message to 911, when in need of emergency services and unable to place a phone call:

·Enter 911 in the “To” line of a new text message.

·Begin the message with the location of the emergency and the type of help needed – police, fire or emergency medical services (EMS).

Once the message has been received at the 911 call center, a 911 specialist will respond. Users should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions.

Citizens are urged to place a voice call to 911 if possible; text if you can’t. Public Safety offers the following additional tips for using text-to-911:

·Keep text messages short and simple; avoid using slang or abbreviations.

·Photos and videos cannot be viewed by 911 call centers.

·English is the preferred language for text messaging, though some limited translation services may be available.

·Including an additional contact on your text message may prevent it from being received by 911.

·As with all text messages, messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may be received out of order or may not be received at all.

·If text-to-911 service is not available in an area, users will receive a bounce back message from their carrier telling them to place a phone or relay call instead.

·Do not text and drive.

Learn more about text-to-911 service in Calvert County at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/Text911. Citizens with questions may contact Emergency Communications Assistant Division Chief Stanley Harris at Stanley.Harris@calvertcountymd.gov or 410-535-1600, ext. 2942.


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