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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the availability of Text to 9-1-1 for all residents in the county’s unincorporated areas.
While calling 9-1-1 during an emergency is still the preferred way to ask for help, Text to 9-1-1 is a new option for contacting law enforcement and is intended to assist those who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, or anyone who cannot safely call 9-1-1 in a dangerous situation.
“When it comes to getting emergency assistance, every second counts,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said. “Text to 9-1-1 is helping eliminate communication barriers and allowing all residents, regardless of disability, to get the services they need quickly.”
Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:
Texting 9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency. Prank-texters can be identified and prosecuted according to local laws and regulations.
“Text to 9-1-1 ensures that those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment have equal access to immediate emergency services, and it also benefits the entire community,” Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center Manager Morgan Schlesiger said. “This new technology has already proven critical reliable in emergency situations where an individual is unable to safely make a phone call. We’re here to help, call when you can, text when you can’t.”
The service is now available in the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County and the cities of Fortuna, Arcata, as well as HSU Police, and the California Highway Patrol. Other local cities will be launching Text to 9-1-1 capabilities soon.
How do you text to 9-1-1?
Text to 9-1-1 requires a cell phone that has the capability to send text messages, and location services must be enabled. Standard text-messaging rates apply. While currently, the texting service is only available in English, other language solutions are in development and will be implemented as soon as they become available. Similarly, the system cannot receive photos and videos at this time.Tips on texting 9-1-1 in an emergency:
This new capability was provided to the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center at no cost from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. As dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can. Text if you can’t.”
Learn more about Text to 9-1-1 at https://humboldtgov.org/2857/Text-to-9-1-1