There is no doubt that technology has advanced at a tremendous rate over the last 20 years. We literally carry handheld supercomputers with us everywhere we go keeping us connected to the entire planet with nothing more than a tiny, digital keyboard, and long gone are the days of pay-per-text cellular service.
Communication At Our Fingertips
Text messaging may be one of the greatest advancements in communication technology, allowing us to express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas straight from our minds to our fingertips and ultimately to the eyes or ears of the receiver of those messages.
Text-to-911 Allows Texts to Reach Emergency Dispatchers
In fact, texting has expanded into the realm of emergency services with the addition of a 911 text line for emergency situations. While not available everywhere yet, there are a number of locations, including counties here in Indiana, that do support Text-to-911, according to the FCC. [View the full list of participating counties in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois below]
It's Best to Call but Sometimes That Isn't the Safest Option
The FCC says,
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. However, because voice calls to 911 provide more information to 911 call centers, you should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.
...The FCC encourages emergency call centers to begin accepting texts, but it is up to each call center to decide the particular method in which to implement and deploy text-to-911 technology.
Text-to-911 Saved an Indiana Hostage Victim
The official State of Indiana website and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security official Facebook page shared details recently about a Bartholomew County 911 Emergency Operations dispatcher named Megan Hedger who, via Text-to-911 services was able to communicate with a hostage victim, aiding in getting law enforcement help to the victim and ultimately, resulting in the suspect being arrested.
Dispatcher Megan Hedger received a 911 text that said, "I've been held in my house since the fifth by (name). He kicked in my door. I have video surveillance footage. He has fallen asleep in the back room. Please help me. ..." Hedger immediately informed law enforcement and kept in contact with the victim by text. Officers arrived and took the suspect into custody.
Texting May Be Best
In some situations, like the one above that took place in Indiana, texting 911 may be the best, and safest option. The victim obviously did not want to risk waking the suspect by talking on the phone, and in this case, the quiet, stealth of texting was ultimately what led to the victim being able to reach help.
Indiana, Kentucky, & Illinois Text-to-911 Counties
According to the master registry list available through the FCC website, these are the counties in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois that participate in Text-to-911 services.
Indiana Counties with Text-to-911 Services
- St. Joseph
Kentucky Counties with Text-to-911 Services
- McCracken County
Illinois Counties with Text-to-911 Services
View and download a copy of the FCC master registry list of Text-to-911 participating counties across the United States to see if your county offers Text-to-911 services.