Potter and Randall Counties unveil Text-to-9-1-1

Potter and Randall Counties unveil Text-to-9-1-1

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - With the push of a button, residents in Potter and Randall counties now have another outlet to contact 9-1-1.

The Potter-Randall County Emergency Communications District unveiled its new "Text-to-9-1-1" tool. And though it will be valuable, they want to urge people to still "call if you can, text when you can't."

Imagine being deaf, hard of hearing, or in an emergency situation where you can't talk...but need to dial 911.

Well, that won't be such a hard thing to do in Potter and Randall counties, now that "Text-to-911" is being offered.

And it's quite simple. You must tell them your location and type of help needed.

"Give a description of what's going on, what emergency help you need. Just short and to the point, messages. No emojis," says Public Marketing Coordinator Leticia Truex.

"The initial text usually takes 15-30 seconds to get to the call center and right after it's received from the call center,it takes about 1-2 seconds per message to send back and forth," says 911 systems coordinator Duain Gomez.

The district has tested out all carriers, and they all work seamlessly with the program. Just as with 911 hang up calls, they are well prepared for any false texts that may come through.

But, think again before crying wolf or joke texting.

You can be placed on a block list, taking away the privilege (though no matter what, you can still call).

"So also with text to 911, we will get a location and their phone number, so if they were to be abusing the 911 system, then we would have that information," says Truex.

If for some reason you receive a bounce-back message, you may have traveled to an area where "Text-to-9-1-1" is not supported. And though Potter and Randall counties are the first in the area to unveil this, surrounding counties will see the service in 2017

You are asked not to text and drive.

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