Los Angeles rolls out 911 texting service
The new system is meant to allow people who are hard of hearing, speech-impaired or unable to talk safely on the phone to connect with emergency services
By Andy Nguyen
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — People across Los Angeles County now have the ability to send a text message to 911 in an emergency, authorities announced Friday.
The new system, called Text-to-911, is meant to allow people who are hard of hearing, speech-impaired or unable to talk safely on the phone to connect with emergency services. Cities such as Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach and Los Angeles now have the ability to field text messages sent to 911.
However, it is not meant as a total replacement for calling 911 traditionally. Sgt. Daniel Suttles, a spokeman for the Glendale Police Department, said the time from when a text is sent and then received by the system can vary from instantaneous to several minutes, depending on a person’s location and cellphone service.
“Phone communication is still the primary way we want you to communicate because it’s more reliable,” he said.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, there are some caveats to texting 911.
The service is not available when a person is roaming, photos and video cannot be sent or received, and messages should be sent in plain English with no abbreviations.
Copyright 2017 Los Angeles Times
Text-to-911 is now available throughout Los Angeles County! “Call if you can, text if you can’t.” For emergencies only & not a replacement for voice calls. Should be used by deaf & hard of hearing & when you cannot safely make a voice call. #Textto911 @LAPDHQ pic.twitter.com/LKuJEujjS4— LAPD Communications Division (@911LAPD) December 1, 2017