Big Bear, CA, February 6th, 2016 – 9-1-1 emergency texting is now available in San Bernardino County. Hard of hearing members of the community, or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, now have another option to call for help in an emergency, Text-to-9-1-1. “Call if you can – text if you can’t” is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
San Bernardino County Dispatch Centers are trained and ready to assist callers who, for whatever reason, are unable to call 9-1-1. While the technology is still evolving, it’s another tool to help those who are often the most vulnerable in our communities if they cannot call 9-1-1.
The benefits to consumers are significant, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. Examples include not only the hard of hearing, but also when a crime is in process or the caller is injured and cannot speak.
Here are the FCC guidelines for how to contact 9-1-1. If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:
- If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”
- For the deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech disabled, and Text-to-9-1-1 is not available, use a
- TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.
- If texting is not available in your area, and after texting to 9-1-1, a bounce-back message
- will be sent advising “text is not available please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”
- Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Although not required,
- putting your location in the message can be helpful. Text-to-9-1-1 does not allow for the
- caller to disconnect the call. Therefore, in an emergency situation, the mobile phone will be
- tracked and located to a satisfactory resolution of the dispatch center.
- Text-to-9-1-1 is not available when roaming.
- A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-9-1-1.
- Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1.
- Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain abbreviations.
- Text-to-9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send emergency texts to
- anyone other than 9-1-1.
- Text must be in English only. There is no language interpretation for text available.
For additional information, please contact Big Bear Fire Department at www.bigbearfire.org or (909) 866-7566.