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Text to 9-1-1 Now Available in Manhattan Beach

Dec 04, 2017 09:47AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Mobile users in Manhattan Beach - and throughout Los Angeles County - now have the ability to send text messages to 9-1-1, giving hearing and speech impaired residents, or those in situations where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, a potentially lifesaving option.   
"Call if you can -- text if you can't" is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the new technology makes its debut in the most populous county in the United States. 
The South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority, which provides police and fire dispatch services for Manhattan Beach, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo and Culver City, is now equipped to receive and respond to mobile phone SMS Text to 9-1-1 messages.
"This technology can save lives and meets the needs of a growing population that relies on text messaging as a key form of communication," said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that in most situations voice calls to 911 are the most efficient way to reach emergency help. For example, voice calls allow the 911 operator to more quickly ask questions and obtain information from the caller, while two-way communication by text can take more time and is subject to limits on the length of text messages.

In addition, when you make a voice call to 911, the call taker will typically receive your phone number and the approximate location of your phone automatically. For this reason, if you send a text message to 911, it is important to give the 911 call taker an accurate address or location as quickly as possible, if you can.

To text 9-1-1, follow these steps: Enter the numbers "911" in the "To" field. Your first text message to 9-1-1- should be brief and contain the location of the emergency. Push the "send" button. Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call-taker. Text in simple words and do not use abbreviations, acronyms, or emojis. Keep the text message brief and concise. At this time, text messages to 9-1-1 must be in English as there is not currently a translation service available.

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