“Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t” With New 9-1-1 Service in Mono County

The Mono County Sheriff’s Office is now offering Text to 9-1-1 services for our residents and visitors to Mono County to report emergencies. Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can, text if you can’t.” For most people, sending a text to 9-1-1 should not replace making a call.
Appropriate scenarios for texting 9-1-1 include:
• Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability.
• The caller is unable to speak due to a medical issue or other condition.
• When speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, such as a home invasion, an abduction, a domestic violence incident, or an active-shooter scenario.
Text to 9-1-1 requires a cell phone that has the capability to send text messages, and location services must be enabled. Currently, the texting service is only available in English; other language solutions are in development and will be added as soon as they become available. The system cannot receive photos and videos at this time.
Tips on texting 9-1-1 in an emergency:
▪️ Be sure to include clear information about the location (including city) of the emergency with the type of help needed (police, fire, or medical) in the first text message sent to
9-1-1. Emergency personnel cannot always determine your location.
▪️ Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
▪️ Text messages should be brief, easily understood, and should not contain abbreviations, emojis, or slang.
▪️ If it is safe to do so, keep your texting app open until the dispatcher ends the conversation.
▪️ You cannot include 9-1-1 in a group text.
▪️ If you are roaming, text service is dependent on roaming provider.
▪️ Put your phone on “silent” if you don’t want to be heard by people threatening to you or near you.
▪️ Do not text and drive.
Text to 9-1-1 Frequently Asked Questions What is Text to 9-1-1 technology?
• Text to 9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from your mobile phone or handheld device.
Can I Text to 9-1-1 everywhere?
• Text to 9-1-1 is not available everywhere.
• If Text to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating that Text to 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
• You must subscribe to your wireless carrier’s text or data plan to send or receive text messages.
When should I text 9-1-1?
• Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can. Text if you can’t.”
• Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:
1. For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
3. A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.
• ONLY text 9-1-1 in an emergency. Prank-texters can be identified and will be subject to prosecution according to local laws and regulations.
What are the challenges with text to 9-1-1 service?
• As with all text messages, Text to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive and respond to than a voice call, does not provide the location of the texter, could be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
• Text GPS location information is not equal to current wireless location technology.
• Voice calls are real-time communication and Text to 9-1-1 is not.
“Call if you can, text if you can’t” is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the new technology makes its debut in parts of California.
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