HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hanover County residents can now send text messages to 9-1-1 when safety concerns or disabilities make calling difficult.
Voice calls are still the best and preferred method for most people to contact 9-1-1. Remember this important phrase: Call if you can. Text if you can’t.
Beginning on December 1, 2015, if you are in Hanover County and you are unable to make a voice 9-1-1 call, you can type your message on your mobile phone or device and send it to Hanover’s emergency call center. Hanover is the 16th agency in Virginia to offer the service.
Text to 9-1-1 is intended for specific emergency scenarios:
· For a person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
· For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
· A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.
· If you are unable to call 9-1-1 due to being in a remote location with limited voice network availability.
At this point, text to 9-1-1 in Hanover County is provided by the following carriers: Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, A T & T and T-Mobile.
A text to 9-1-1 status map of Virginia deployments is available here.
“We always prefer for you to call 9-1-1, as that method provides the most accurate and timely exchange of information,” said Cheryl Buchanan, Hanover’s Emergency Communications Center Manager. “However, if it is not safe for you to call, we do not want to jeopardize your safety.”
How to Text 9-1-1:
1. Enter “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field of your text message (no dashes in 911).
2. Text in simple words – no photos, videos, abbreviations or slang.
3. The first text should be short to include the location of the emergency and who you need: police, fire or ambulance.
4. Be as specific as possible when providing your location. Provide as much of the following information as possible:
o Exact address to include unit/apartment number and city
o Business name
o The names of both streets at the nearest intersection
5. Push the send button.
6. Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.