HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with county leadership, is offering residents a new way to get emergency help from 911.
County residents will now be able to text 911 dispatchers should they need help and are unable to call. While the texts aren’t meant to replace 911 calls, the program will help those with hearing problems, speech disabilities, and those who cannot call due to lack of reception or situations where making a call is dangerous.
“We want to be proactive in helping our residents feel safe and prepared for an emergency,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “An emergency can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, so our goal is to give the community just one more way to get help during a crisis.”
Simply 911, and dispatchers will reply for more information. In these situations, citizens must respond to the dispatchers and soon as possible.
“Response times are critical during emergencies,” Hillsborough County Fire Chief Dennis Jones said. “Text-to-911 is an invaluable tool both for people who are hurt or in peril, and for the workers on the front lines who come to their aid.”
While the program supports text messages, dispatchers cannot receive group texts, images, or emojis from someone in need.