Wireless cell phone customers in South Dakota can text to 911 when they can't call in an emergency. The text, like a phone call, will be routed to a local 911 dispatch center. "Text-to-911 should only be used in an emergency when you can't call 911," said Craig Price, cabinet secretary for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. "The Text-to-911 option would be good to use if speaking out loud would put the caller in danger or if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired."
Text-to-911 is not yet 100% activated in Todd County. People texting 911 in that county will receive a message stating that text service is unavailable and they will be directed to make a 911 call instead.
People who are unable to call 911 should remember these steps about Text to 911:
Don't text and drive.
In the first text message, send the location and type of emergency.
Text in simple words; keep the text message short without the use of abbreviations or slang.
Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
Voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911.
Call 911 if you can, text if you can't.
For more information on the Text to 911 program in South Dakota, visit the Text-to-9-1-1 website. The state 911 Coordination Program is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.