Officials in Cooper County have announced an update to their 911 system.  Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with Director Thomas White:

Thomas White

White explained this is another way to reach services during an emergency situation.  “Basically, we have upgraded our system and we now have the capability of receiving texts across the 911 service,” said White,”This will allow individuals out there who have Verizon to  provide SMS texing to 911.”

The text message option is currently only available to Verizon customers, but White said that will soon change.  “We are working with Spring, AT&T, and T-Mobile,” said White,” We are in the testing phase with Sprint and I would guess that AT&T and T-Mobile will not be far behind.”

Officials do want citizens to keeping some things in mind when choosing this new option.  “This is not a 100% guaranteed system, “said White, “Text messages can always be delayed 5 minutes,  5 hours,  or even 24 hours, as we know with regular texting on a cellphone.  Just be careful with this.  If you can use voice call, please do so.”

Press Release:

SMS to 911 update for Cooper County .  Verizon Wireless subscribers now have the ability to text to 911 in certain areas of Cooper County.  We enabled this service on July 24th and have been testing in the county.  We have found that there are areas that do not have text to 911 services on the Verizon network even if you can make voice calls.  If you try to make a text to 911 and this service is not available you will get a message stating “text not available make a voice 911 call”.  We are still working and testing with the other three providers for text to 911.  There are some major issues you need to understand to use this system.  Do not text if you can speak.  Service is only available in Cooper County and there is Verizon Service.  Text message could be delayed for a certain amount of time.  Do not use jargon (plain English).  Give location of the emergency in the first message sent.  This service is not intended to replace voice 911 only for those that cannot speak or make noise with asking for assistance.