Health Enhancement and Safety

Texting is not a choice - For 9-1-1 use your voice

Monday, March 1, 2010, 10:18 am

Text messaging and instant messaging are becoming much more common methods of communicating than the traditional two-way voice telephone call.  Nowadays, many citizens expect to be able to contact 9-1-1 centers from any device, anytime, anywhere.  Yet, traditional 9-1-1 technology cannot transmit text information to 9-1-1 centers.

The Office of Public Instruction has been asked to help spread the word that emergency texts, instant messaging or e-mails will not reach our 9-1-1 centers.  During an emergency, persons reporting an incident must dial 9-1-1.  If the caller is unable to speak or fears giving away their hiding place, 9-1-1 call takers have the training to use 'silent call protocol' to get you help.

As society becomes more and more mobile and dependent on communication systems that are not stationary or tied to a physical address, law enforcement, fire fighters and other public safety service providers need improved tools to track the location of emergency callers.  The State of Montana 9-1-1 Program applied for and received Federal grant funding that will allow us to continue to modernize the state's 9-1-1 systems statewide. 

"It's all about making the state a safer place and giving emergency responders the tools needed to do their jobs effectively," said Becky Berger, 9-1-1 Program Manager for the State of Montana.

We urge you to tell those friends and family members who use cellular devices that text data will not reach Montana's 9-1-1 centers.  Please stress that texting is not a choice.  For 9-1-1, use your voice when reporting emergencies.

For more information, contact Becky Berger, (406) 444-1966