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Minnesota Text 911   Lake Superior News
#LSN_Sports   Now in Cook County 

ST. PAUL — In an emergency, dialing 911 is a call for help. But people with hearing loss or those who must remain quiet in a dangerous situation aren’t able to place a call safely or at all.  That’s why the Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks (DPS-ECN) has worked with stakeholders around Minnesota to develop Text-to-911 on Minnesota’s Next Generation 911 (NG911) network. DPS-ECN announced today that Minnesotans are now able to use the service throughout the state. 

An Emergency Lifeline
Text-to-911 is an alternative to calling in an emergency when it would be unsafe for an individual to speak. 

“Imagine having to hide from an intruder in your bedroom closet or witnessing a domestic violence situation. Text-to-911 is a lifeline for people who would put themselves in harm’s way if they called 911,” said DPS-ECN Director Jackie Mines. “Speaking with a dispatcher is still the fastest way to receive help, so call if you can, text if you can’t.”

A New Solution
The addition of Text-to-911 also means individuals who have some form of hearing loss will now be able to use text dispatchers as a first contact option. Until today, deaf Minnesotans have gone without a direct way to communicate with 911 centers. 

“Twenty percent of Minnesotans have some form hearing loss. The communication barriers they experience are frightening when seconds matter most in an emergency,” said Marie Koehler, Regional Manager, Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services division. “Text-to-911 offers a solution to that overwhelming problem.” 

In 2014, all 104 Minnesota 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) became connected to the next generation network that allows them to accept texts. In 2017, ECN worked with PSAPS to train dispatchers and test the equipment for the Text-to-911 system. The deployment of Text-to-911 in Minnesota is fully funded by 911 fees collected from all devices capable of originating a 911 emergency telephone call.

• Text-to-911 is now available throughout Minnesota. The service was deployed in December 2017.
• Text-to-911 can be the first contact option for individuals who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing
or those with speech impairments.
• Text-to-911 should only be used when a person can’t safely make a voice call.
– When someone must stay quiet to remain safe.
– If peer pressure is strong.
• Text-to-911 is a discreet way to report domestic violence, home invasions, human trafficking,
and suicidal individuals.
1. Enter the numbers 911 in the “To” field.
2. Text your exact location and type of emergency.
3. Send the message.
4. Promptly answer questions and follow instructions.
TIPS: Use simple words. Do not use abbreviations, emoji’s, pictures or slang (BRB, IDK, THX,
2day and BTW). Do not text and drive!
Texting 911 with a false report is a crime. If you accidentally send a text to 911, send another
text, or call 911 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.
Emergency response may be lengthened due to the time it takes for a text to 911 to be typed
and sent. Delivery speed is not guaranteed.
• Dispatchers prefer calls so they can get cues from background noise and voice inflections.
• If you text to 911, dispatchers will ask if they can call you.
• Location is not as accurate with text as it is with a call. Be sure to text your exact address.
• A text or data plan is required to use Text-to-911.
• Texts to 911 will get a bounce back message if you are roaming.
• Texts to 911 have a 160 character limit, can get out of order, or may not be received.
• There is no language translation service for texts to 911.


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