911 text line launches in Broward County

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Residents in Broward County will now be able to text 911 in the event of an emergency.

County officials said while the primary method of getting help should still be calling 911, the ability to text will help if making a phone call is not possible.

“This technology benefits members of our community who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired,” Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said. “They will have a more efficient and effective way to request emergency services in times of need.”

Other reasons to use the text line, officials said, would be in the event of an unsafe situation.

“In the case of an active shooter, home invasion or domestic violence situation,” Bogen continued.

Authorities stressed that those using the line should not send photos, videos, emojis, abbreviations or slang.

Just as in a regular phone call with 911, residents should provide clear and brief information as well as the exact location of the emergency.

“Be ready to respond to text messages from 911 until the conversation is finished,” a press release stated.

Police agencies across the county took to social media to share the news and remind everybody about when to use the service.

For now, the system only processes messages in English and an option to translate is not available.

“Text to 911 will give a voice to those who would be in danger if they were to place a phone call. This is a major accomplishment and a key component in our overall plans for a new state of the art communications system to protect our residents and visitors,” Broward Commissioner Michael Udine said.

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