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Decatur residents can now text 911

Crime and public safety Decatur slideshow

Decatur residents can now text 911

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The Decatur Police Department says residents now have the ability to text 911 instead of dialing the number when there’s an emergency.

“Thorough testing has been conducted and Text to 9-1-1 is live, for the public inside the City limits of Decatur,” Lt. Jennifer Ross said. “Texting to 9-1-1 provides accessibility to the hearing and speech impaired population and provides an alternative to reach help in a dangerous situation when a voice call is not possible or where a voice call fails due to a high volume of phone activity but texting is successful.”

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Here’s how texting 911 works:

– Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field.  The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.

– Push the “Send” button

– Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

– Text in simple words- do not use abbreviations.

– Keep the text message brief and concise.

When to text to 9-1-1:

– If you are hearing impaired.

– When a voice call could increase a threat.

– If you are injured and cannot speak.

– If you are in a remote location and can only send a text message.

Ross said the mantra is, “Call if you can, text if you must.”

She said the four major cell phone carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – have agreed to participate.

“However, this does not mean that the service is available in all areas,” she said. “Should you be out of the area, for that carrier, you will receive a message stating that the text service is not available and to call 9-1-1. Photos, videos and other attachments cannot currently be sent to 911 via text, although these capabilities will be available in the future.”

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