All Pinal County residents now have the option of texting to 911 in emergency situations when it is difficult or impossible to place a phone call, expanding the accessibility to the essential public safety service.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department, the primary uses of Text-to-9-1-1 are: when an individual is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability; in situations where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1; and during a medical emergency that renders the person unable to speak.
“Having the option to text our 911 operators will help us ensure all residents have access to emergency services, no matter what the situation,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb. “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”
How it works
Users access the service by opening a text message and typing “911” in the “To” field. In the body of the message, provide your exact location and the nature of your emergency before pushing the “send” button.
Avoid using text abbreviations or slang and remember that photos and videos can’t be sent to Text to 9-1-1.
A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-9-1-1, and the service is not available if your cellular device is in “roaming” status.
As with all texts, a Text-to-9-1-1 may take longer to be received, may be delivered out of order, or not received at all. You will receive a “bounce-back” message when texting is not available. These texts cannot be sent to more than one person.
No matter what the situation is, people should not Text-to-9-1-1 while driving.
Dispatchers at the following agencies are trained and ready to accept Text-to-9-1-1. For other agencies, PCSO will respond to the messages and verbally relay them to the proper jurisdiction.
- Casa Grande Police Department
- Coolidge Police Department
- Eloy Police Department
- Florence Police Department
- Gila River Indian Community Police Department
- Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Lauren Reimer said upgrades to the emergency response system cost $119,000 for five years and has been funded by a state grant that covers all public safety agencies in the County.
In the first 20 days of availability, the county received 35 Texts-to-9-1-1, Reimer said.
“Prior to the start of the program, we were not sure what level of use we would see, as every county and agency is unique. However, we knew this would create an additional method for all of our citizens to communicate with us in an emergency, which is always a good thing,” she said.