FONTANA — Emergency communications in California took a giant step forward on December 15th with the formal launch of California’s first countywide “Text to 9-1-1” program in San Bernardino County and parts of Riverside County.
The program enables persons in those communities who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech impairments and have phones or devices that include text or data plans to communicate more effectively with 9-1-1 dispatchers through text messages instead of traditional TDD, TTY or video relay systems. It will also help persons who find themselves in a dangerous situation and cannot safely contact 9-1-1 by phone to access assistance.
San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Communications Manager Cyndee Freeman likened Text to 9-1-1 to a regular text session.
“You text via your SMS (short message service) text to 9-1.1,” she said. “The dispatchers will receive that (information) and start a conversation,” she said.
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