Mecca 911 announced a new texting feature to use during emergencies. These texts will be treated just like a call coming through to the center, and could benefit in some situations.
“A situation is in your house, and there is a burglar in your house, and you’re hiding, and you don’t want them to hear you. You can text us and give us all of the information we need over text. There may be situations where you are in a call, you know an active shooter situation, and you’re trying to hide and stay silent. That you can text and give us information that we need, and you don’t have to give yourself away,” said Brad Wilson, assistant director of Mecca 911.
Wilson walks us through how the process works.
“What it does is you have the texting feature on your phone, where you text your friends and stuff that you go to it, and you push on it. And once it comes up, instead of the friend’s name, you put in there, you just put in 911 and then you can start texting. And it comes up on a separate computer screen in the center. The operators will answer it, and they’ll start asking you questions,” said Wilson.
Another benefit of this feature is that it helps the hearing impaired.
“A lot of people call in and they have a lot of trouble hearing us on the phone. It would help out in that situation if you have an emergency. We have a lot of hearing impaired that call in medical calls, and it would help them greatly,” said Wilson.
If you use this option, it’s important to keep the message simple.
“And we do ask that when you do text, try to keep it as plain language as possible. Use the least amount of abbreviations that you can, and we don’t want you using emojis. I know a lot of people use emojis, but a lot of our operators might not understand them, and it just delays the process longer of getting you help,” said Wilson.
This texting feature does not work on social media messenger platforms. It is only available with texting through available phone services in the area.