Ability to Text 911 Emergencies Now Available

METCOM 911 dispatch center, which serves much of rural Marion County as well as portions of Linn and Clackamas counties, is one of seven dispatch agencies (Clackamas County, Clatsop County, Clark County WA, Columbia County, Multnomah County, Washington County and Marion/METCOM service area) to launch the text to 911 service on Aug. 23.

"We continue to urge the community to use voice communication as their primary source of activating the 911 system but in the event they cannot communicate via voice, it is acceptable to text to 911," said METCOM Director Gina Audritsh. "It is always important for people to know where they are at all times when making calls or text to 911."

Text messaging is one of the primary ways people communicate today, especially younger people and members of the deaf and hard of hearing and with speech disabilities. Providing the ability to text to 911 is a great service to this population of our community.

Having the ability to text to 911 to activate emergency services for events where a caller does not want their voices heard such as during domestic violence, home invasions or traveling with an impaired driver are perfect examples of when to use the new service.

"This will be a great asset in improving public safety," said Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris. "We have been looking forward to this becoming a reality for a while. There are times when victims of crimes are unable to communicate using their voice, but may have the availability to text and now we will be able to respond more quickly."

The new program is not without limitations. Emojis, pictures and video are not acceptable means of text to 911. In fact if these items are sent the emergency text message will not be delivered.

Anyone wanting more information can click here.

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