Text to 9-1-1 offers options for emergency contact

Texting central dispatch has a lot of benefits, says Chris Izworksi, Executive Director of Saginaw County 9-1-1.

Originally, people had to have a land line to call 9-1-1, then it was expanded to include cellular service, and just a few months ago people could begin texting to 9-1-1. Izworski says not only does it eliminate the need to use a TTY machines for the hearing impaired, but also makes it safer for people in certain situations to be able to get help. Although texting can’t convey what’s going on in the situation as well as voice, there are times when it’s important to be able to communicate via text.

Izworski says texting has its limitations, and it is always preferred to use voice calls, but when a voice call isn’t possible or safe, texting is an option.

He says expecially with young people, texting is second nature, so adding the option allows 9-1-1 to meet people where they are. Izworski says dispatchers can also use text messages to follow-up.