Text 911 launches for Augusta emergency services

Published: Feb. 13, 2018 at 7:57 PM EST
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Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

(News 12 NBC 26 @ 11 o'clock)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- You can now text 911 in Augusta if you need help in an emergency. The city launched the new program Tuesday. It's supposed to help the hearing and speech impaired.

Daniel Dunlap is the director of Augusta 911. The new Text 911 program is designed to help people get help.

"The real benefit to text 911 is for those individuals who might have a hearing or speech impediement and might not be able to make a traditional voice call," Dunlap said.

It also could come in handy for situations where you might not be able to speak, like if there was a break in, or an abduction. But there are some draw backs.

"If you're placing a voice call, it's going to be a whole lot quicker than doing a text message," he said.

That's why it's important to text in detail. Your first text should include your location. Nailing down where you are can be harder with a text versus calling, so being specific is important.

"If we're communicating back and forth by text message than it's a back and forth. I can't answer your text until I know what your question or answer is," Dunlap said.

Part of the delay from a text is also because it takes dispatchers longer to nail down the details of the situation.

"We need to make sure we're painting a picture for the first responders so we know what we're getting into. If there's anyone injured, or in danger, that's the information we need to make sure we're passing on," he said.

Help that's now just a text away. You also should not text with abbreviations or emojis. This is the same as calling 911, so prank calls are still against the law, and don't text an emergency call if you're driving.