Wireless customers in Cobb County can now send a short message service (SMS) text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help when unable to make a 9-1-1 voice call. This service will be available to the majority of Wireless customers. All Major Carriers have completed integration with the Cobb County 911 system. Text to 9-1-1 was not developed as a replacement or option to calling 9-1-1 in an emergency situation, but rather as an enhancement to reaching 9-1-1 services in three specific situations: 1) The caller is hearing/voice impaired, 2) a medical emergency renders the person incapable of speech, or 3) when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, such as a home invasion, an abduction, a domestic violence incident, or an active shooter scenario.
“The safety of residents and visitors in Cobb County is our number-one concern. Text to 9-1-1 could be a lifesaver, especially for people who might otherwise not be able to make a voice call,” said Ann Flynn, Cobb County 911 Director.
Cobb County will receive TEXT to 911 calls from both unincorporated Cobb County and from the Cities within Cobb County. We will relay information to the appropriate City if necessary. Smyrna 911 has deployed their own Text to 911. We will work with them to provide seamless Police Fire and Medical services.
Important information for Wireless customers in Cobb County:
• Customers should use the texting option only when calling 9-1-1 is not an option.
• Using a phone to call 9-1-1 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help. Texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text to 9-1-1 situations because of the time involved.
• Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since Cobb County public safety agencies will receive only the location of the cell phone tower closest to the call’s origin, not the caller’s actual location.
• Text abbreviations or slang should never be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
• Customers must be in range of cell towers in Cobb County. If customers are outside or near the edge of the county, the message may not reach a Cobb County public safety agency.
• Texts to 9-1-1 from areas where the service is not available will receive a “bounce back” message telling them to make a voice call.
• Texts sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
• When texting 911 do not include others in the text.
• Wireless customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages. Customers should consult their OTT ( over the top) messaging provider to determine if and how text to 9-1-1 is provided by the OTT application.
• The texting function should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services. For non-emergency situations, customers should contact their local public safety agency via a 10 digit non-emergency number.
• SMS911 should only be used to communicate between emergency help and the texter with no pictures, video, other attachments or other recipients appended to the message.