Officials in suburban Naperville announced Monday that they have integrated text messages into the city’s 911 answering system, allowing residents to reach first responders when calling is not an option.
According to a press release, cellular customers with Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile/Sprint service can send a text to the city’s emergency dispatch center to request fire, police or emergency medical assistance.
Officials say that text messages to 911 should only be used when placing an emergency call isn’t an option, such as when a caller is deaf or speech-impaired, or when speaking out loud would put the caller in a dangerous situation.
“Text to 911 gives citizens facing an emergency another way to contact 911 dispatchers for help,” Emergency Communications Manager Jillianne Chuffo said in a statement.
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There are several steps to remember for residents utilizing the service:
-Residents must enter the numbers “911” into the “to” or “recipient” field.
-Include the location of the emergency and the type of help needed in your first text.
-Send short texts without abbreviations, slang or emojis.
-Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions.
Officials say that it is still preferred for residents to call 911, as it is the fastest way to exchange information and to give potentially life-saving instructions.