CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Pickaway County has joined Franklin, Delaware, and several other central Ohio counties to offer text-to-911 services.
The service adds a new level of security to people unable to make a traditional voice call to 911, including those in a domestic violence situation or an active-shooter scenario.
Others helped by the service include the hearing and speech impaired.
According to the Ohio Program Office for 911 services, the public is reminded to “call if you can, text if you can’t.”
The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office advises that a 911 text may take longer than a voice call due to the nature of typing and sending a message, and waiting for a dispatcher response. That said, it could be a lifeline for people who need to remain silent due to a dangerous situation, as well as those with hearing and speech impairments.
Tips for using the service include:
- Keep the text clear and concise about the location of the emergency and the type of help needed (police, fire, or medical).
- Do not send emojis, videos, or photos.
- Be prepared to answer the dispatcher’s questions and stay on the line until the dispatcher closes the dialog box if you can.
- Never text and drive; pull over first.
Other central Ohio counties with text-to-911 service are Franklin, Delaware, Union, Madison, Pike, and Guernsey. In total, some 25 Ohio counties now offer the option.