ST. JOSEPH, Mo.– The St Joseph Emergency Communications Center announced today that it has begun text to 911accepting text–to–9-1-1 service for Buchanan County. AT&T, Sprint, T Mobile, Verizon and US Cellular Wireless customers can now send a text (up to 140 characters) to 9-1-1 in an emergency. Text to 9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency situation, when placing a call is not possible: For instance, if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.
If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, remember these steps:
-Don’t text and drive
-In the first text message send the location and type of emergency.
-Text in simple words – Send a short text message without abbreviations or slang.
-Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

Don’t Abuse 9-1-1—Text-to-9-1-1 service is ONLY for emergencies.
-It is a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report.

The Text-to-9-1-1 service will have many challenges.
-A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-9-1-1
-As with all text messages, messages to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
-If you do not receive a text response from 9-1-1, try to contact 9-1-1 another way.
-Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
-Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
-Voice Calls to 9-1-1 Are Still the Best and Fastest Way To Contact 9-1-1

Remember, Text-to-9-1-1 service is not available everywhere in Missouri and the U.S.

What is “Text-to-9-1-1” technology?
-Text-to-9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from your mobile phone or handheld device.

Can I Text-to-9-1-1?
-Text-to-9-1-1 is not available everywhere and is not always available when roaming.
-AT&T, Sprint, T Mobile, Verizon and US Cellular customers may utilize the service in Buchanan County.
-You must subscribe to your wireless carrier’s text or data plan in order to make or receive text messages.
-If Text-to-9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating that Text-to-9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.

When should I text 9-1-1?
-Text-to-9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:
1. For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability.
2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
3. A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.

-ONLY text 9-1-1 in an emergency. Prank-texters can be identified and possibly prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.
What are the challenges with text-to-9-1-1 service?
-As with all text messages, Texts-to-9-1-1 may take longer to receive and respond to than a voice call, does not provide the location of the texter and could be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
-Text GPS location information is not equal to current wireless location technology.
-Voice calls are real-time communication and Text-to-9-1-1 is not.
-Pictures or videos cannot be received by 9-1-1 at this time.
-If you include anyone else on your Text-to-9-1-1 it may not be received by 9-1-1.
-At this time translation services for Text-to-9-1-1 are not available; please text in English only.

How do I text to 9-1-1?
-Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field;
-The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include the location of the emergency, and ask for police, fire or ambulance.
-Push the “Send” button.
-Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
-Text in simple words –no abbreviations or slang.
-Keep text messages short.
How will I know if 9-1-1 received my text?
-A 9-1-1 call center should respond to the text.
-If Text-to-9-1-1 is not available, you should receive a message from the wireless carrier stating that Text-to-9-1-1 is not available and that you must place a voice or relay call to 9-1-1.
Is there a charge to text-to-9-1-1?
-Standard text messaging rates apply.
When will I be able to text–to-9-1-1 from all cell carriers?
-The St Joseph Emergency Communications Center is going live with the program July 11, 2016.
Can I text to 9-1-1 in languages other than English?
-The preferred language for texting to 9-1-1 is English.
-Translation services are limited.