State launches Text-to-911 system

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New program makes traditional 9-1-1 emergency services available via text messaging.

IMG_5265CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire’s Department of Safety  announced on Jan. 12 the launch of Text-to-9-1-1, a new service making traditional 9-1-1 emergency services available via text messaging.

“Public safety is state government’s most important responsibility, and Text-to-9-1-1 is an important step forward in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our people and communities,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan. “Making traditional 9-1-1 emergency services available through text messaging is a common-sense initiative that will help save lives as we work to modernize how we provide critical state services, allowing Granite Staters to access emergency services when they are unable to place a call in a dangerous situation.”

“Text-to-9-1-1 is an important service and we’re happy to have it here in New Hampshire,” said Bruce Cheney, Director of the Division of Emergency Services and Communications. “Text-to-9-1-1 allows residents in dangerous situations who are unable to risk the noise of a call to send a text for help. This will help save lives and must be used responsibly.”

Texting should only be used when a voice call is not possible, as voice calls provide an advantage by allowing the 9-1-1 operator to more quickly assess the type of emergency and the location of the emergency.

How to text 9-1-1:

  • Enter the numbers ‘911’ in the ‘To’ field,
  • In the message field, type your exact location and a BRIEF description of the help you need – use simple words, do not use abbreviations or shorthand,
  • Push the ‘Send’ button, and
  • Be prepared to answer the 9-1-1 call taker’s questions.

A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1. Currently, Text to 9-1-1 is offered via Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Text messages may not go through if a cell signal is not available. If a text message does not go through, the sender will receive the following message: “there is no text service to 9-1-1 available at this time.”

Messages to Text-to-9-1-1 cannot be received if there are multiple message recipients, or if pictures, videos or emoticons are used. Text-to-9-1-1 is for emergencies only.

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Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.