Broward County citizens can now text 911



Broward is one of more than 30 counties in Florida. They have adopted the 911 text service, but the authorities say that whenever possible, the public should call instead of texting. Miami-Dade plans to implement the service sometime in 2019. Photo courtesy of Bradenton Herald

Mackenzie Quinn, Editor-in-Chief

During an emergency, not everyone is capable of calling 911 due to certain circumstances. Now, Broward County residents are able to text 911 when they cannot make the call.

The system is for standard messages, meaning that images, videos or any other media are unable to be sent. Location services on phones make for easy location updates if someone is not sure where they are. Dispatchers will respond just like they would on a call with advice and questions about the situation.

“The preference is always to call and talk to a live operator. But if you can’t call somebody, the preference is to text,” Broward County Mayor Mark Bogan said in an interview with Local 10.

Texting 911 should only be used in situations where speaking is dangerous or if one’s hearing is impaired.

“Being able to text 911 is a necessary addition to pre-existing public safety resources,” sophomore Samantha Deitsch said.

Messages should include the individual’s specific location, description of their situation and their name. Everything should be brief, but as specific as the individual can provide so that dispatchers can respond as soon as possible. Broward County’s system has a limit of 160 characters per message.

While not available nationwide, texting 911 is available in Broward County and many of its surrounding counties. Top cell providers are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. The Broward County system is currently only available in English.