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Text-to-911 is live in Bedford County

Posted on Friday, September 8, 2023 at 5:00 pm

ShelbyvilleBedford County Emergency Communications District (BEDFORD COUNTY 911) is announcing to the public that Text-To-911 is now available to all citizens of Bedford County.

“Bedford County 9-1-1 is pleased to announce that our citizens and those visiting Bedford County can now send a text to 9-1-1 if they are experiencing an emergency and aren’t able to make a traditional voice call to 9-1-1. This is also an important innovation for those in our deaf and hearing-impaired community who, previously, needed special equipment to make an emergency 9-1-1 call. They no longer need that specialized equipment and can simply send a text from their cell phone,” said Phillip Noel, 9-1-1 Director for Bedford County.

Voice is still the preferred way of reaching 9-1-1, said Noel, but the availability of text will help address specific situations where voice can’t be used. Approximately 75 percent of all Tennesseans can now text 9-1-1. This is an emerging technology, with Tennessee and Bedford County leading the Country in deploying this service.

If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, remember these steps:

  • Don’t text and drive
  • In the first text message send the location and type of emergency.
  • Text in simple words – Send a short text message in English without abbreviations or slang.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

Don’t Abuse 9-1-1—Text-to-9-1-1 service is ONLY for emergencies.

  • It is a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report.

The Text-to-9-1-1 service may have challenges.

  • A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-9-1-1
  • As with all text messages, messages to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • If you do not receive a text response from 9-1-1, try to contact 9-1-1 another way.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  • Voice Calls to 9-1-1 Are Still the Best and Fastest Way to Contact 9-1-1

Remember, Text-to-9-1-1 service is not available everywhere in Tennessee or the U.S.

“The same telecommunicators in our Communications Center that answer voice calls will also be the ones answering the texts to 911 as soon as they come in,” said Noel. “They will text back immediately and start gathering the information needed determine what type of help the person needs. Additionally, all of the same GPS and location technology available with a voice call will also be available to telecommunicators when a text is received by 911. Our number one goal is always getting help to our citizens as fast as possible.”

If you have questions about this service, or 911 in general, or if you need assistance with non-emergency issues, call the com center’s non-emergency number at (931) 684-3411.