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In a release last month, the Central Texas Council of Governments Regional 9-1-1 Program announced the availability of

“Text to 9-1-1” service in the entire region, including Fort Hood.

Text to 9-1-1 is a service that allows citizens to send a text message directly to 9-1-1 for assistance, in the event they are unable to make a voice call.

To use the service, simply send a text as you would normally. In the recipient field enter 911, compose the message and push send. Once your text is sent, the 9-1-1 system will send an automated message asking the individual texting for the address of the emergency. This starts the text session between 9-1-1 and the individual needing emergency help.

It is important to remember that Text to 9-1-1 services should only be used in an emergency situation, when someone is unable to speak.

Examples include if the person is deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired or when speaking out loud would put the individual in danger. Text to 9-1-1 also provides a silent alternative in cases such as a child abduction, an active shooter or domestic abuse.

When texting 9-1-1, you need to know your exact location and the nature of your emergency. Use simple language and no abbreviations or slang.

As a safety precaution, never text while driving. Pull over to a safe location before sending a text to 9-1-1.

If you are able, call 9-1-1. It takes longer to get all the information when communicating through text messages.

Currently you can only Text to 9-1-1 with the four major wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon WirelessTM.

If you are in an area where texting service is not available to 9-1-1, you will receive a ‘bounce-back’ message telling you to make a voice call.

If you would like more information about Text to 9-1-1, visit www.ctcog.org.