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Claremont residents may now text 9-1-1

Claremont police dispatchers can receive and respond to mobile phone SMS text messages to 9-1-1. This technology gives the 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, including Los Angeles County.

“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.

FCC guidelines for how to contact 9-1-1 are listed below:

• If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call.

• If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech disabled, and text to 9-1-1 is not available in your county, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.

• If you text 9-1-1 and the service is not available in your area, you will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available, please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”

• Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Be prepared to give your location to the dispatcher when asked.

• Text to 9-1-1 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message. Turning on the location device setting on your cell phone is recommended.

• Text to 9-1-1 is not available while “roaming.”

• Photos and videos cannot be received at the 9-1-1 center at this time.

• Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain popular abbreviations like SMH, LOL, ICYMI or emojis, which will not be recognized.

• Text to 9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person (i.e., no “group” texting). Do not send an emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.

• Texts must be in English only. There currently is no language interpretation for text available, it is still in development.