• Texting service became available last week.
Those in an emergency now have the ability to text 911 instead of calling. The service, which launched on Wednesday, October 18, gives Lincoln County Dispatch Officers the ability to receive and send text-to-911 messages.
“We have been working on this for over a year now. There are a bit of regulations and other items of registration that had to be completed in order to have this service,” said Maryanne Christensen, Lincoln County Dispatch Supervisor. “We have been getting “notified” of a text to 911 but were never able to see what the text said. This way we actually have a text chat that we can communicate when a phone call is just not possible.”
According to Christensen, dispatch can also send out text messages to individuals whom they are unable to get ahold of or if you dial 911 and the call was not completed. The number that will come through to your device is (307) 466-7764. Dispatch encourages residents to add this number to your phone’s contact list so you are aware of the number if a text message is sent. “Dispatch can initiate the text and it will come from that number. It is common for someone to call a friend and the friend to call us. We can initiate the text to the victim and open the chat that way to get them the help they need,” said Christensen.
“We feel this is an essential service to provide,” Christensen continued. “We know there are victims out there that are not able to call 911 but they can text. Whether they are hiding in a closet and unable to talk or something else that prevents them from calling. We get the notification and we open the chat to be able to communicate with them.”
Dispatch says when texting 911, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker. Text in simple words and do not use abbreviations. They also recommend keeping text messages brief and concise.
Dispatch also reminds residents that text location information is not equal to current location technology, meaning they can not determine your location without it included in the text. As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received. Text-to-911 is not available if you are roaming. A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-911 and the messages can not include more than one person. And of course, do not text and drive.