Treasurer Kelly Mitchell celebrates 5 years of Text-to-911

INDIANA  — This week, the Indiana Statewide 911 Board is celebrating 5 years of offering Text-to-911 services to all 92 counties in the state. Within the past five years, more than 1.2 million in-bound and out-bound texts have been received and sent throughout Indiana.

Kelly Mitchell

“Text-to-911 enables direct access to emergency services for those who are deaf or speaking-impaired, are having a medical emergency that prevents them from being able to speak, or are in a situation where making a voice call would put them in danger,” said State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, who chairs the Indiana Statewide 911 Board.

Director Todd Noblitt

This was the case when the Bartholomew County 911 Center received a simple text that said, “Pls help,” Director Todd Noblitt recalled. “While the message was simple, it was enough information that our Emergency 911 Dispatchers became the lifeline to a victim of domestic abuse. The quick actions of the victim and the response of the 911 Dispatchers led to the arrest of the suspect and more importantly, the safety of the victim. Text to 911 may have saved her life.”

To text 911, open the message or messaging icon on your phone, making sure not to use a downloaded texting app. Create a new text message and insert 911 in the “to” field. Then send a short text message without abbreviations, attachments, or pictures, stating your emergency and location. The 911 Telecommunicator will then continue the dialogue to obtain additional information and give instructions.

Ed Reuter

“The Text-to-911 system has evolved as being an integral part of 911 systems across the state, said Executive Director Ed Reuter. “It has proven to save lives and has helped provide another means of communication for emergency services.”

It is always best to call 911 if you are able, as texting is not as fast as making a voice call and does not provide as much context to the dispatcher. However, in situations where making a voice call would put you in danger, it is highly recommended to use this life-saving service.

Text-for-911 is made possible via the Statewide 911 Board’s partnership with INdigital Telecom who hosts the Texty platform.