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Police announce Text to 9-1-1 service for parts of Merced County

Livingston Police announce integration of Text to 9-1-1 system

The Livingston Police Department demonstrates a Text to 9-1-1 system that is capable of contacting dispatchers in the Livingston area in the event of an emergency.
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The Livingston Police Department demonstrates a Text to 9-1-1 system that is capable of contacting dispatchers in the Livingston area in the event of an emergency.

A new way of contacting 911 has been implemented in some areas of Merced County, according to authorities.

The Livingston Police Department, in conjunction with the State of California 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Branch (CAL OES) and AT&T announced Wednesday, the availability of a new integrated Text to 9-1-1 System, according to a news release.

The service is available to individuals who are not able to safely make a voice call to 911 in an emergency. The service may also be valuable to the deaf and hard of hearing community, authorities said.

According to Livingston Police, the system is the first of its kind to be implemented and functions directly with dispatch software rather than with a third party vendor.

The agency may be the first in the state to utilize the enhanced feature of the Text to 9-1-1 directly to the Computer Aided Dispatch System, according to authorities.

Testing for the service was completed in the Livingston Communications Center which dispatches for the cities of Livingston and Gustine and is available with plans from Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to the release.

The Text to 9-1-1 service is currently available in the Livingston area and may not be available in other Merced County areas, according to authorities.

Authorities said some situations which may require the use of the Text to 9-1-1 include deaf or hard of hearing callers, emergency situations which could put a caller in danger when making a voice call and callers with speech difficulty.

Other situations may include domestic violence, active shooter situation, abduction or someone who is unable to speak due to a medical condition, according to the news release.

According to Livingston Police, some guidelines to follow when texting 911 include providing exact address or location, use of plain language, do not use abbreviations, symbols, emoticons or photos.

Those texting 9-1-1 should also be prepared to explain the type of emergency or help being requested and be prepared to answer questions the 9-1-1 telecommunicator texts back. Authorities also said messages should be brief and concise.

Texting should be done through a wireless phone text messaging service by typing “911” in the phone number field and not from third party texting applications, authorities said.

Text to 9-1-1 does require an active telephone service plan with data to work, according to the news release.

Police said making a voice call is still the best way to contact 9-1-1. The text service should only be utilized in emergency circumstances where a voice call is not possible or safe, according to police.

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