Citrus County implements emergency text-to-911 service

Citrus County

Young woman using cell phone to send text message on social network at night. Closeup of hands with computer laptop in background

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office will soon be able to receive text messages sent to 911 for emergencies.

The agency began implementing its text-to-911 service on Friday.

The service is available for use by those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech impaired. It can also be used in situations, such as domestic altercations, where it’s too dangerous to call 911.

The technology comes after the agency was awarded a $40,158 grant in June from the State of Florida Division of Management Services E9-1-1 Board. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed a bill that requires all Florida counties to implement text to 911 services.

“We are excited to begin offering text to 911 services to the citizens of Citrus County,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office strives to best serve every member of our community, and this is another step in the right direction.”

The sheriff’s office provided the following guidelines for texting 911:

  • Traditional voice communications should be the first choice when contacting 911 during an emergency. Text-to-911 should only be used if you are not able to verbally communicate, or if your emergency situation makes speaking dangerous.
  • Messages should brief and should describe the type of emergency and the help needed.
  • Quickly answer the questions, and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Do not use abbreviations.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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