SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KSLA) - Residents in Shelby County can now reach emergency dispatchers from the tips of their fingers within a matter of seconds.
The Deep East Texas Council of Governments recently introduced a ‘Text-to-911’ service for the county.
“One of the reasons for the implementation in all of the 12 DETCOG counties we serve is because of the hearing and speech disabled individuals,” says Charlesetta Malone, Operations Coordinator for DETCOG.
To reach a 911 dispatcher via text in Shelby County, Malone says residents simply have to type in ’911′ as the recipient and then the circumstances of the emergency. Malone stated it’s pivotal residents provide their exact location and name.
“Make sure you have a full battery or your battery is sufficiently charged, go ahead and text 911 and then type in your message and click 'send,’” said Malone.
Rather than calling you back, Malone said dispatchers are trained to actually text back responses. She said this service is very useful if a person finds themselves in an emergency situation where speaking really is not an option.
“We’ve had a few of our 911 centers receive Text-to-911 calls because they’ve been involved in domestic violence situations and it was unsafe for them to actually call 9-1-1 to relay what was going on,” said Malone. “The dispatcher on the other end was able to communicate effectively with the individual that was calling and able to provide services.”
According to Malone, Text-to-911 services is available in Cass, Bowie, Titus and Morris Counties. However, Panola, Marion and Harrison Counties are currently working on deploying a similar system for residents.