Local News

Can't call 911? Try texting

Posted January 9, 2020 6:46 p.m. EST

— Calling 911 for an emergency is the go-to option to summon help, but Wake County now offers other options.

The county's 911 communications center is now equipped to respond to text messages, and the messages can even include a picture or a video.

"[If] someone breaks into your house and you have to hide in a closet or something, but you’re able to take a picture of the person, well, you may text us that somebody broke into your house," said Dominick Nutter, emergency communications director.

To send an emergency text, simply type 911 as the recipient number. Nutter advised to keep the message brief and include an address or location.

"It’s just like when you make a 911 call, it goes to a center depending on where you are. It’ll go off the cell towers," he said.

Other things to keep in mind: Avoid using abbreviations and emojis, which can't be seen by the dispatchers. Also, group texts won't work with 911.

The Wake County 911 center received about 600,000 calls and only 1,000 texts in 2019. But Nutter said that, if the texting option can help someone, it's done its job.

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