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Fulton County Emergency Services Launches Text to 9-1-1 | Print |


Fulton County Emergency Services is pleased to announce the successful launch of Text to 9-1-1 service on July 1, 2018. Fulton County’s Text to 9-1-1 uses the latest state-of-the-art technology allowing hearing and speech-impaired residents, as well as those in potentially dangerous situations, to reach out for help.

“It is important that all residents are able to contact Police, Fire and emergency medical services when needed,” said Director Joe Barasoain. “Texting is widely used to communicate so it only makes sense that we allow residents to use this technology. The safety of our residents and our first responders is our first priority and Text to 9-1-1 for emergency services helps us to extend how they can reach out to us for help.”  

“Call if you can -- text if you can’t” is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement this new technology. In combination with Text to 9-1-1, Fulton County has also rolled out an “Abandon Call Back” feature that automatically calls a number that dialed 9-1-1, but was disconnected. An abandoned call is a call, or other type of contact, initiated to a 9-1-1 call center that is ended before any conversation occurs. This feature ensures that if someone has an emergency, a 9-1-1 operator can return their call.

Text to 9-1-1 requires a cell phone that has the capability to send text messages. Location services must be enabled and text messages should be brief, easily understood, and should not contain abbreviations, emoji’s, or slang. Currently, the texting service is only available in English; other language solutions are in development and will be implemented as soon as they become available. The system cannot receive photos or videos at this time.

Below are guidelines for how to text to 9-1-1:

  • Do not text and drive.
  • Enter the numbers “911” in the text “To” field.
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should contain the location and brief description of the emergency and the type of help needed.
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 text taker.
  • Text in simple words. Do not use abbreviations, emoji’s, or slang.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

There are many significant benefits to consumers utilizing Text to 9-1-1, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. For example, Text-to-9-1-1 is very useful for those who are hearing or speech-impaired. Text-to-9-1-1 could also help in situations when a crime is in process, the caller is facing domestic abuse, the caller is injured and cannot speak, or other similar scenarios where speaking is not an option.

“We are proud to have coordinated County-wide to bring this much-needed emergency communications tool to residents, businesses and visitors to Fulton County,” said Barasoain.  “While this new texting service is available to the public, I want to remind everyone that calling 9-1-1 remains the most effective method to access emergency personnel.”      

Fulton County Emergency Services successfully completed testing of Text to 9-1-1 and 9-1-1 operators have already answered some texts received. This new Text to 9-1-1 highlights Fulton County’s ongoing commitment to public safety.

For more information, visit Fulton County’s website at www.fultoncountyga.gov or connect with Fulton County government on Twitter at @FultonInfo or Facebook at @fultoninfo.  


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