Texting 9-1-1 is an option if you’re ever in a situation

You could be in a rural area, or even out in the middle of nowhere, and making a call may not be possible or could compromise your safety.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:04 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -Anyone’s first instinct in an emergency situation is to dial 9-1-1. But sometimes, that’s not always an option. You could be in a rural area, or even out in the middle of nowhere, and making a call may not be possible or could compromise your safety.

In March of 2021, a statewide initiative introduced by the Department of Public Safety was implemented for texts to be sent to 9-1-1. This service, though beneficial, comes with certain considerations. According to a 9-1-1 dispatch quality assurance supervisor, responding to a text message takes longer than a voice call to gather information.

However, the texting service is valuable for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. It should only be utilized in situations where making a voice call is not safe, such as shooter incidents, domestic violence situations, home invasions, and cases of human trafficking.

“The message we want to convey is: call if you can, text if you can’t. But any situation where you don’t feel like it’s safe to talk by voice communication with a dispatcher would be a great utilization of that resource. We also had it implemented a few times for people that might have been lost in the hills. And then they weren’t getting a very good cell phone connection to make a voice call. But the text was able to come through to us,” said 9-1-1 Dispatcher Quality Assurance Mari Brooks.

For more information on the texting initiative, click here.