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.