TODAY: KC metro launches 911 texting service

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 12, 2016

Every day, 911 dispatchers send first responders to dozens of calls they receive. Soon they'll be keeping track of text messages too. 

People around the Kansas City metro area will be able to text 911.

"There may be people whose lives we could have saved before had they had access to this service," said Hassan Al-Rubaie of the Mid-America Regional Council. 

The Mid-America Regional Council is installing text-to-911 service to nine local counties: 

  • Ray County 
  • Platte County
  • Cass County
  • Leavenworth County
  • Johnson County 
  • Clay County 
  • Johnson County 
  • Wyandotte County 
  • Miami County 

The new system aims to make it easier to contact 911 for those in situations where talking on the phone is not ideal - for example, home invasions, domestic violence, active shooters and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

Each text message will be treated like a call to 911. Operators will respond, texting the same questions they would ask over the phone. 

But the Mid-America Regional Council says always call if you can, text if you can't. 

"The fact that we are able to do it is because we have the equipment in place to do it, our call takers are very well trained and they have been using TTY devices for years," said Keith Faddis of the Mid-America Regional Council. 

When sending a text to 911:

  • First, include your location.
  • Include the type of emergency.
  • Provide any additional information.

In order to successfully send the text, you must have an active texting account with your phone company, you cannot be roaming and your cell phone company must be able to determine your location.