September 22, 2015
Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) now accepts text messages to 9-1-1 for reporting police/fire/medical emergencies.
Was publicly announced at the Board of Supervisors meeting. – September 22
- Fairfax county information on Text to 911
- NEWS 4 webpage about Text to 9-1-1 (click Here)
(The following is the text from the DPSC Post Card)
Fairfax County Emergency 9-1-1
Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in 3 Emergency Scenarios:
For individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
Medical emergency the renders the person incapable of speaking.
Only Text 9-1-1 In An Emergency (English Only)
How do I text to 9-1-1?
- Enter the numbers “911” in the “TO” or “RECIPIENT” field.
- The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
- Push the “SEND” button
- Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
- Text in simple words. NO abbreviations or Slang.
- Keep text messages short.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Text to 9-1-1 is not available if you are in a roaming situation.
- A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1. Standard text messaging rates apply.
- Photos and Videos CANNOT be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
- Text to 9-1-1 CANNOT include more than one person. Do not copy your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation.
- Prank-texters can be identified and possibly prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.
- Text to 9-1-1 is available in Fairfax County beginning Tuesday September 22, 2015
- DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE!
More information can be found at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911/text-to-911.htm
(END of the DPSC Post Card Text)
Guidelines for TEXTING to 9-1-1
- Stay calm – dispatchers can’t help you if they can’t understand you. Take a deep breath and think before you text. TEXT slowly and clearly. The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
- Know your location and text the dispatcher the exact address (apartment/suite number, intersection, interstate mile markers) where the help is needed.
- Answer all questions. The call taker will have questions for you and may even ask you to do something to help. It is important that you answer the questions as best as you can. DO NOT STOP TEXTING unless you are in danger or the dispatcher tells you to do so.
- TEXT the nature of the emergency. Stay on the line to answer further questions the dispatcher may have.
- Send someone to meet the emergency equipment if at all possible. It’s hard to find an address on a dimly lit street in the middle of the night.
- If you Text 9-1-1 even by mistake, do not hang up the phone. If you call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that there is no emergency, so the call taker doesn’t have to waste time sending police trying locate you.
- Prevent prank Text to 9-1-1. Prank-Texters not only waste time; they are illegal in most states and endanger public safety. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 9-1-1 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.
TEXT to 911 – Coverage Map as of September 22,2015