Starting Monday, Dec. 12, people in Deschutes County can text their emergencies to 911.

Text-to-911 is a tool for people who may not be able to speak due the nature of their emergency, such as a home invasion robbery or an abusive partner. It will also benefit individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities.

“We know calling 911 isn’t always an option,” said Deschutes County 911 Service District Director Steve Reinke. “When a phone call isn’t possible, the Service District’s Text-to-911 service will help people get the assistance they need.”

To text Deschutes County 911, users should look for the message icon on their cell phones and enter 911 in the number field of the text message screen. Then, users should type the location and type of emergency in the message field.

Important Things to Know About Text-to-911:

  • Texting to 911 is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak in an emergency. Remember, “Call if you can, Text if you can’t.”
  • When texting to 911 for an emergency, the first message should be the location of the emergency (including the city) and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire or medical).
  • Keep text messages brief and concise; use full words.
  • Stay with your phone and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 dispatcher.
  • At this time, 911 can’t accept photos, videos or emojis. Trying to send these will corrupt your emergency text.
  • You can’t include 911 in a group text or while roaming.

Text-to-911 service isn’t available state-wide. If you send a text to 911 from a wireless carrier or a city or county 911 center without Text-to-911 service, you should receive a message saying text-to-911 service is not available.

Reinke emphasized Text-to-911 should only be used when it isn’t possible or safe to communicate with 911 by voice. “We can process an emergency call faster using voice communication but, when a voice call isn’t possible, Text-to-911 will help us help people get the assistance they need.”

For additional details about Text-to-911, please visit www.deschutes.org/911 or www.nwtext911.info.

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