Sending a text to 911 is now possible in Waynesboro after the Emergency Communications Center announced the added feature Tuesday.
Commonly referred to as Text-2-911, the technology allows anyone with a text capable cell phone to text 911 to report an emergency when making a voice call is not possible.
To use the feature, users should enter “911” in the “to” box of their cellphone’s messaging app. Users can then type their message and tap send.
Once the test is received, a 911 dispatched can respond. The feature also provides the dispatcher with the user’s cell phone number and location. In addition, pictures can be sent if available and if the user’s cell phone carrier allows the feature for Text-2-911.
Text-2-911 is enabled on all major carries including T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and their subsidiaries on cell towers that provide service in the city. If users are in an area where Text-2-911 is not available, they will receive a bounce back message indicating that the service is not available in their current location and to make a voice call to 911 instead.
The preferred method for contacting 911 in an emergency is dialing 911 to talk with a dispatcher whenever possible, the city said in a released statement.
“(Voice calls) allow for faster processing and more detailed information sharing. In situations where a caller is unable to talk such as a domestic violence situation or if the caller is hearing impaired, text will be available,” the statement said. “This new feature is very beneficial for the hearing impaired community as it will eliminate the need for those callers to go through the relay center or to be at home or work and use a landline phone with a TTY device to make a call.”