Texting 911: Raleigh-Wake dispatchers now receiving pictures, video

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you ever find yourself in an emergency, you now have a new option to ask for help and it doesn't involve calling anyone.

Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications is now accepting pictures and videos sent via text to 911.

Emergency Communications Director Dominick Nutter said the enhanced service went live about six months ago but underwent some refining because of technical issues.

The communications center has been text-capable for several years, but this is the first time it's been able to receive pictures and video.

"Texting is only if you absolutely cannot call us," Nutter said. "We always want you to call us on the phone because we can get information back and forth quick and make sure you get the proper services."

Nutter said the text-to-911 feature is aimed to be most helpful to the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired.

If you do need to text 911 in an emergency, follow these steps:
  • Keep your first text to 911 brief
  • Include the location of your emergency and the type of help you need
  • Be prepared to answer the dispatcher's questions
  • Don't use abbreviations
  • Do not group text, the feature only works between a sender and 911

Also, emojis are not visible to 911, so don't use them.

As with any text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, get out of order, or not be received.
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