Written by Erin Flynn
Those unable to speak to a 911 operator during an emergency in Prince William County now have another option: sending a text.
The Prince William County Office of Public Safety Communications is accepting messages from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless users seeking help in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park through its Text-to-911 service.
“Text-to-911 is the ability for people to send text messages to the 911 center to report an emergency,” said Fred Miller, director of Public Safety Communications. “They should always call if they can, text if they cannot.”
Text to 911 can benefit people who have medical emergencies or disabilities that hinder them from speaking, those hard of hearing, and anyone who feels that it is unsafe to talk on the phone.
Messages containing up to 140 characters can only be sent to 911. Videos and pictures will not go through.
“In your initial message, you should say where you are and what the emergency is, because, again, one of the problems with texting is we don’t have the ability to locate you like we do with a cell phone call,” Miller said.
Text-to-911 is not offered in all parts of Virginia and the United States. If anyone texts 911 and service is not available, they will receive a response saying so. They should then call 911.
Visit pwcgov.org/pscc for more information.
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