A new public safety tool has recently been put into place for each of Maryland’s 23 Counties and Baltimore City. Maryland residents can now use their cell phones to send and receive text messages to and from 9-1-1 responders, to request help and report emergencies.
This new safety tool is important for Marylanders with hearing and speech disabilities, but also those who may need to request help silently, including domestic violence victims and survivors.
According to Governor Larry Hogan, this new technology is “a vital public safety tool that could potentially help save the lives of citizens who find themselves in an emergency situation.”
Officials still urge citizens to “call if you can, text if you must,” as a person talking on a call can gather valuable information from what they hear including inflection in the caller’s voice and background noises. Also, its important for people to know that the current text-to-911 technology cannot determine the texter’s exact location – a caller must report that information.
While use of this type of technology is growing more widely used across the country, with approximately 30% of US Counties currently utilizing some type of text-to-911 program, most citizens don’t know of its existence. Its important to spread the word about this vital new public service, that is most helpful in those critical, life-threatening situations when a voice call would be dangerous or impossible to make.