Those in Naperville can now text 911 in case of an emergency. The city’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) announced the launch of the service today.
The addition of texting means those in an emergency situation in Naperville who are unable to call now have a second option for reaching first responders. The service works for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint wireless users.
Call If You Can
Authorities stress that the texting option should only be used when calling isn’t an option. Voice calls make it easier for a dispatcher to ask questions and direct help or life-saving instructions in a more rapid manner. The text messaging option is intended for those who may be in a scenario where speaking could put the caller’s life at risk. Individuals who are deaf, and those who are hearing or speech impaired may also use it.
“This is a great public safety enhancement for the City of Naperville. Text to 911 gives citizens facing an emergency another way to contact 911 dispatchers for help,” said Emergency Communications Manager Jillianne Chuffo in a press release. “Our dedicated team in PSAP is here for you, 24/7, 365 days a year. We encourage you to remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t and know that we’ll be on the other end of the line to help you.”
How To Text 911
Users just need to enter “911” in the “To” or recipient field for the service. They should keep texts short and free of abbreviations, slang or emojis. The first text sent should include the person’s location, and the type of emergency help needed. The 911 call taker may ask further questions via text.
“While we want to emphasize that calling 911 is still the fastest, most reliable way to contact us, we know that offering texting as an option is critical in so many scenarios,” said Chuffo in the release. “We’re thankful to be able to offer texting as an option for citizens who have an emergency but aren’t able to speak – either because it’s not safe or because of a disability.”
More On The Service
Authorities say the service does not currently allow people to send photos or video. They also note that a text or data plan is needed to use the service, and texts may be delayed, not delivered, or received out of order. Texts to 911 cannot be part of a group text to other people. And location information is not received via text in the way it is when a call to 911 is made. Finally, officials say both texting and calling 911 with a false report are crimes.
More information about the service can be found on the City of Naperville’s website.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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