First steps of Text to 911 arrives in Saline Co. - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

First steps of Text to 911 arrives in Saline Co.

SALINE COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

Saline County E-911 will begin offering text to 911 services.

They say the system is provided by InDigital of Indiana and is currently set up to allow the dispatch center to text a 911 caller.

The first step is known as Outbound Text from 911. This allows dispatch to intimate a text 911 call to the caller.

"If a situation occurs where the dispatch center receives a voice or traditional 911 call and the caller is unable to continue talking, a call taker can text the caller and continue with the 911 call," said Saline County E-911 Director Tracy Felty.

Felty said they receive many calls from the Garden of the Gods area where cell signal is not very good.

"It takes less of a signal for a text message than it does for a voice call," Felty said. "A telecommunicator can use the Outbound Text from 911 to continue getting more information, without losing the caller or running down a cellular phone battery, while attempting multiple voice calls to the caller,"

Once the wireless phone companies complete their technical work, they say the ability to receive text to 911 calls will also be available.

Felty said right now, if you have an emergency, you will still need to dial 911 and start a voice call.

A voice call is always preferred and a voice call will allow for your location to be easier displayed and is still quicker than a text message, according to Felty.

If a caller tries to text to 911, the caller will receive a message back saying that the service is not available to make a voice call to 911. In addition, during the Outbound Text from 911 session, once the session has ended the caller will receive a text message saying the session has ended and that if the caller has a further emergency, they will have to dial 911.

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