Texting 911 is now an option in Cabell County

Texting 911 now an option in Cabell County
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After weeks of testing across Cabell County, there is a new way to reach emergency services.

Texting the Cabell County 911 Center is now an option that can be done on any major cell phone carrier.

All that is needed is a cell phone with a working SIM card.

The system is designed with multiple emergencies and groups in mind.

“We think this would be great for domestic violence situations, school incidents things where it’s not safe to make a phone call,” Cabell County 911′s Interim Director Nazim Abbess said.

“It would also be great for the hearing impaired.”

Kim Cooper, assistant superintendent of Cabell County Schools, said the text message system could have life-saving results.

“If we were to ever have a catastrophic event, whether it were an explosion or anything like that, cell phones take more bandwidth for a call to go out,” he said. “Now with being able to use the texting service into 911 they can gain more information from the people who may be trapped maybe being held hostage or anything like that.”

There are a few best practices to keep in mind when texting 911.

When choosing the text message recipient, just type “911.″

In the body of the message, type your exact location or address and clearly explain your emergency. Do not use abbreviations or emojis.

Once the message is sent, make sure to keep the phone handy in case the dispatcher has any more questions before help is sent.

Abbess said the new system is already seeing life-saving results.

“We’ve had probably about a half a dozen actual calls where we actually had a domestic situation and a third party heard the domestic situation,” he recalled. “The police department was able to show up and intervene in the situation and make an arrest.”

Currently, the service is only available in English.

The system can also not receive photos or videos for the time being, though there is no timeline on when that may be possible.

Abbess said calling 911 remains the best option to reach a dispatcher and emphasizes to only use the text system for specific emergencies and those who are hearing impaired.