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 Citizens with questions may contact Emergency Communications Assistant Division Chief Stanley Harris at or 410-535-1600, ext. 2942.

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