BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Palm Beach County is today launching “Text to 911.” As you would guess from the name, those seeking emergency help can text their requests to 911 instead of calling. While calling is the preferred method for summoning assistance, the new text service is to be used in those situations where it may be too dangerous to call 911.
Here is the official media advisory from Palm Beach County. Please note: while City of Boca Raton police and fire services operate separately, Boca’s 911 system is also compatible with the texting function.
“Palm Beach County is proud to announce that, effective today, hearing and/or speech impaired members of the community, or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, now have another option to request help in an emergency – Text to 9-1-1.
The benefits to the public are significant, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. Examples of Text to 9-1-1 scenarios include an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, or has a speech disability; someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1; or a medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.
Text to 9-1-1 guidelines:
- “Call if you can – Text if you can’t.”
- Do not include anyone other than “911” in the Text message. If you include anyone else on your text, it may not be received.
- Always provide your location. Text to 9-1-1 location information is not equal to current wireless-location technology.
- When communicating with 911, use plain language.
No abbreviations, shortcuts or slang.
- Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.
- Language interpretation is not currently available when texting
- As with all text messages, messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
- Text to 9-1-1 is an enhancement to the existing 9-1-1 system and is not intended to replace traditional emergency voice calls. Text Messages are routed to the appropriate Palm Beach County 911 center, in a designated queue.”