In the 21st century, traditional 911 services are increasingly being augmented by Text-to-911 options, intended for use in emergencies where the caller can’t talk…
The Milpitas Police Department (MPD) is now offering just such a service. In a press release, the MPD made clear that the Text-to-911 option isn’t intended to replace the standard call-in version of 911, which is still the fastest way of getting help.
But when callers have impairments in terms of speaking or hearing, be they temporary or permanent, Text-to-911 is an effective way of summoning emergency services without having to pick up the phone and make a regular voice call.
Text-to-911 isn’t just useful for those with medical issues in terms of speech or hearing. In the case of situations where a silent “call” to 911 is safer — as in a home invasion or domestic violence scenario — Text-to-911 is a safer and more stealthy option.
Texters are advised to text in their location and what kind of help is needed during a given emergency. The MPD instructs users not to send photos, videos, or emojis. If your phone’s text feature isn’t set to silent, note that reply texts from 911 staff might be audible to anyone within earshot. So if you expect to rely on Text-to-911 in the event of an emergency, it might be wise to silence your text feature now.