Beginning Friday, Dec. 1, hearing- and speech-impaired Long Beach and Signal Hill residents and those in situations where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1 for help in an emergency can now text 9-1-1, according to press releases this week from the City of Long Beach and the Signal Hill Police Department. The new service is available to all the public.
“Call if you can– text if you can’t” is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that is currently being utilized by Long Beach and other cities in Southern California that are implementing this new technology.
“It is important that all residents are able to contact police, fire and emergency medical services when needed,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Texting is widely used to communicate, so it only makes sense that we allow residents to use this technology, Text to 9-1-1, for emergency services, as well.”
Text to 9-1-1 requires a cell phone that has the capability to send text messages and has location services enabled. Text messages should be brief, easily understood and should not contain abbreviations, emojis or slang, according to the City of Long Beach. Currently, the texting service is only available in English, but other language solutions are in development and will be implemented as soon as they become available. Similarly, the system currently cannot receive photos and videos.
“We are proud to have coordinated countywide to bring this much needed emergency-communications tool to residents, businesses and visitors to the City of Long Beach,” said Reggie Harrison, director of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications. “While this new texting service is available to the public, I want to remind everyone that calling 9-1-1 remains the most effective method to access emergency personnel.”
Below are guidelines for how to text to 9-1-1:
Enter the numbers “911” in the text “To” field.
The first text message to 9-1-1 should contain the location and brief description of the emergency and the type of help needed.
Push the “Send” button.
Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 text taker.
Text in simple words. Do not use abbreviations, emojis or slang.
Keep text messages brief and concise.
Do not text and drive.
Area 9-1-1 call centers, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the State Emergency Communications 9-1-1 Department, have worked collaboratively to coordinate the implementation of the texting tool.
Visit caloes.ca.gov for more information.
Source: City of LB, SHPD