Texting 9-1-1 Instead of Calling 9-1-1

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On Wednesday, Greenbrier County announced to the general public, that if you are in an emergency you can now text 9-1-1 instead of calling.  Al Whitaker, who is the director of the 9-1-1 Call Center, said they are using this technique for a couple of reasons, “The reason, were doing it is one, the advance of technology, capability. The other is, any event there is a situation you may be in or you don’t want someone to hear you talking, that allows you to still get a hold of the 9-1-1 center by texting.”  Whitaker also mentioned, the person can get in touch with the dispatcher if they are in an area where the signal may not be strong enough. All you have to do is text 9-1-1 your emergency and the dispatcher will ask you two questions. Whitaker stated, “Type it in 9-1-1, and it will come in, the dispatchers will answer you by text, so what is your emergency? Where’s your location? That’s going to be the first two questions they ask you.”  If you are unable to answer when the dispatcher asks where you are, they will have a general idea of the location because of the cell phone tower. But as technology advances, they are hoping the dispatcher will eventually be able to find out your exact location with only a phone number.

Although texting may seem easier to do than calling, the 9-1-1 call center still recommends that you call with your emergency, if you can. “And again, you know we would like, that were asking if you can make a voice call, please do that. But if it puts you in danger or you don’t have the signal strength, you know do that. But first if you can, try to do the voice call.”  Whitaker stated.

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