Plano Implements ‘Text to 9-1-1’

A couple of weeks ago, a patient who could not speak, reached for help through the City of Plano’s text to 9-1-1 program. Michelle Haggerty is the manager at Plano Public Safety Communications. Haggerty described the scenario.

“They had asthma and they were not able to make a phone call so with a Text to 911 we were able to get their location and able to provide E-M-S services for them,” Haggerty said.

Plano residents who are unable to talk in an emergency situation can send a brief text message to 9-11 identifying the problem. 9-1-1 dispatcher Keysha Hogan finds the program to be beneficial for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities who sometimes have to rely on TTD/TTY units.

“With text messaging, they do not have to have their units in their homes they can use a cell-phone wherever they are,” Hogan said.

Haggerty said that when texting 9-1-1 it is important to send the location right away. The program lets dispatchers text back so if someone is in a situation where getting a reply can be dangerous the person would need to let the officers know.

“We do not want to call you or text you to set off any notifications for your phone to let the suspect know where you are at.”

Residents in Plano, Shirin Pedrami and Jason Smith, also shared their thoughts on the program.

“I think it is great,” Smith said. “Any easier way to reach emergency help is better.”

“If I am sick, I cannot talk,” Pedrami said. “I would rather to text.”

There are a number of other local areas that utilize Text to 9-1-1. So far SMU PD does not offer Text to 9-1-1 but students like Caitlin Ruff are open to it.

“That like security of like being able to text and send it off,” Ruff said. “I think it will be really useful to have that.”