By LARISSA COPELAND
During an emergency, reaching a 911 operator can mean the difference between life and death. But in some circumstances, dialing or speaking via a phone is not possible.
That’s where “Text to 911” becomes a valuable tool.
Yukon and other area residents now are able to send a text message to 911 to request emergency help.
Recently implemented by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, Text to 911 allows citizens a secondary option to get help when it’s needed.
Text to 911 does not replace calling 911, but is intended for individuals with speech or hearing disabilities, callers who need to remain silent or discreet or medical emergencies that render the caller incapable of speaking.
“To provide the most effective emergency services to our citizens, we must keep pace with changing technology,” said Mark Sweeney, ACOG executive director. “Texting is one of the primary forms of communication, especially for people with speech and hearing impairments, and the Text to 911 service allows us to reach those people as well as people who may not be able to use traditional 911 services.”
To use Text to 911, the person requesting help can send a text to 911 with the location of the emergency. A 911 dispatcher will respond with instructions or questions.
Individuals are instructed to not text photos, videos, emojis or slang, since the service will not be able to receive them.
Traditional voice calls to 911 are still the fastest and most efficient way to receive emergency help, and texting 911 should only be used if the individual is unable to make a traditional call.
To learn more about Text to 911 in central Oklahoma, visit www.acogok.org/text911.