x
Breaking News
More () »

Columbia's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Columbia, South Carolina | WLTX.com

Lexington County launches Text-to-911 service

Text-to-911 is an alternative to calling for help when it would be unsafe for an individual to speak, or the individual is hearing- and speech-impaired.
Credit: County of Lexington

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — Those in Lexington County's service area can now text 911.

Lexington County Emergency Services has announced the launch of Text-to-911 service. According to the county, this services uses state-of-the-art technology allowing hearing- and speech-impaired residents, as well as those in potentially dangerous situations, to reach out for help. 

The service will be available to residents and visitors in the County's service area. 

The service will not be available for residents within the City of Cayce, City of West Columbia or Town of Batesburg-Leesville because those agencies have their own 911 services. 

Text-to-911 is an alternative to calling for help when it would be unsafe for an individual to speak.

“If a caller is in a dangerous situation where they are unable to speak, such as an intruder in the home or a domestic violence situation, then Text-to-911 would be an emergency lifeline,” said 911 Communications Chief Nikki Rodgers. “However, speaking to a 911 dispatcher is still the fastest way to receive help to the location; so, remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t.

The County of Lexington 911 Emergency Communications Division has worked with AT&T and West to implement Text-to-911 on the County of Lexington’s Next Generation 911 call-handling system.

RELATED: Lexington Medical Center offers transition classes for cancer patients finished with treatment

If there is an emergency and you cannot call 911, take these steps:

  1. Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field.
  2. Text your exact address and type of emergency.
  3. Send the message.
  4. Use simple words, but do not include abbreviations, emoji’s, pictures or slang.
  5. Promptly answer questions and follow instructions.

 The County reminds residents and visitors of the following to ensure the best response from dispatchers:

  • Dispatchers prefer calls so they can get cues from background noise and voice inflections. If you text 911, dispatchers will ask if they can call you.
  • Location is not as accurate with texting as it is with a call. Be sure to text your exact address. 
  • A text or data plan is required to use Text-to-911.
  • Texts to 911 will get a bounce back message if you are roaming.
  • Texts to 911 have a 160 character limit, can get out of order, or may not be received.
  • There is no language translation service for texts to 911.
  • Do not text and drive!

The new service should only be used in emergencies. Texting 911 with a false report is a crime. If you accidentally send a text to 911, send another text, or call 911 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.

Remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t.

RELATED: Lexington County Council puts temporary stop to large-scale residential developments