Benton County, Mo. to unveil text to 911 program

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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WARSAW, Mo. (KY3) - Benton County Emergency Services is set to unveil its text-to-911 Monday, September 19.

Instead of only talking to someone on the phone, you will be able to text 911 too. This will not take away being able to call 911.

”It’s going to be the ability to text 911 from any cell phone device, mobile carrier, any of that,” said Jessica Mayfield, E911 Director.

In a day in age where texting seems to be how many communicate, this is a way to help those who might not be able to make a phone call.

”Another reason that someone may text 911 is if they’re in a situation where they can’t place a voice call because it would compromise their safety. Some examples would be domestic violence situations, kidnappings, active shooters, those type situations where voice call would inherently don’t put the caller in danger,” said Mayfield.

Here’s how it would work: pull up a new message and just text 911 if you have an emergency. It also can have a dispatcher text you in case you called and hung up.

“Whether it be they just pocket dialed or they miss dialed, we’ll be able to instead of calling the person and then not answering because they don’t recognize the number or whatever it might be, we can send them a text letting them know, Hey, this is 911 We received a call from this number do you have an emergency, and at that point, they can let us know that,” said Mayfield.

Dispatchers will also be able to determine your location when you text.

”So since the system is integrated with Rapid SOS, they have a percentage of accuracy. It’s usually in the 90s. We’re talking like 90 to 98% accurate,” said Mayfield.

Calling 911 is always preferred. If you cannot make that call, this program gives you another option to get help.

Mayfield also reminds people to call 911 if they are driving instead of texting.

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