Grand County gets Text to 911 capabilities | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County gets Text to 911 capabilities

Sky-Hi Staff Report

Citizens of Grand County can now text 911 dispatchers in an emergency.

Grand County has a new method for making an emergency call, text to 911.

On Friday, Jan. 13 the Grand County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) issued a press release about the County's new "Text to 911" capabilities. The service allows the County Dispatch Center, which normally fields emergency calls, to receive emergency calls via text messaging from a citizen's mobile phone.

"Text to 911 allows people to relay emergency information to a Dispatcher if they are deaf, hearing impaired, speech impaired, or when placing a voice call is dangerous or impossible," the release from the GCSO states. "It may also provide the ability to relay information to a Dispatch Center when voice communication is broken or inaudible."

The service is especially important in Grand County where Dispatchers often field search and rescue calls. Often times when citizens become lost in the Grand County backcountry they are unable to make phone calls, however they often have enough service to send text messages. It is not uncommon for lost or injured individuals to communicate with friends or family by text, which is then relayed to Dispatch.

The new text to 911 feature will allow those individuals to directly communicate with Dispatch. The GCSO feels the text to 911 service will provide, "more accurate and timely information" in "areas with limited cell phone coverage" according to the release.

Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said, "Implementing Text to 911 is an effort to provide better, and more complete, service to the citizens of Grand County and all the visitors to our area."

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Officials from the GCSO emphasized the same guidelines apply for both calling 911 and texting 911. Both are for emergencies only. The text to 911 service may not work for all citizen of Grand County though. Your cell service provider may not be set up for the program. If that is the case you will receive an immediate "bound back" text notifying you the service isn't available.

For additional information on the text to 911 program officials from the GCSO recommend going to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website.

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