Pitt County 911 director explains how to text 911

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Emergencies, it’s not the first thought that comes to mind when people wake up in the morning but it is important to know what to do when in those unfortunate situations.

In May, WITN reported about a kidnapping victim in Bertie County who was rescued thanks to her quick thinking in texting 911.

The text 911 feature was first supported by major cellular companies in 2014, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Over the past 10 years, Pitt County 911 Director Jimmy Hodges says they’ve received many emergency texts.

Sending an emergency text to 911 could not be easier.

Hodges says you simply type in 911 in the ‘to’ field on your new text and include a message that goes directly to the 911 dispatch center.

In the message, it’s important to include your location and type of emergency.

Hodges says it’s also vital to text clearly if at all possible by using simple words and avoiding any abbreviations.

After sending your emergency text– answer the questions and follow the instructions from the dispatcher.

Hodges says the texting 911 option has been a great addition over the past ten years. “It benefits people greatly especially when people can’t make a voice call and can’t talk, whether it’s a domestic situation or trapped, or as we’ve seen recently kidnapped. We urge people to call 911 when they can and text when they can’t.”

Hodges says that though the text option is beneficial, Pitt County’s 911 center gets more 911 voice calls.

Hodges also told WITN, “It’s been upgraded and it’s much more seamless now than it was but we’ve had that capability for some time now. We respond. It comes in as a phone call, rings as a phone call, and goes to our communications room. They answer it and see it as a text message and we can, in live action, text back and forth with a caller.”

In North Carolina just last year, there 7.2 million 911 calls were answered.