LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The Long Beach Emergency Center gets about 1,000 calls a day and while calling is usually the best way to go in an emergency, beginning Friday, you’ll be able to text your emergency.

“It works, it’s efficient, it’s quick and it provides a much necessary service,” Long Beach Emergency Ctr. Dir. Reggie Harrison said.

The new “Text to 911” system will be rolling out in Long Beach and other areas in LA County. It’s designed to help people who are hearing or speech-impaired and those who may be in danger and unable to make a phone call.

“A woman who was in a domestic violence situation…sometimes as well in an active shooter situation, where people are barricaded inside of a room, it would be ideal to text to 911. That’s why we think it’s so important,” Harrison said.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Make sure that your phone’s location services are enabled
  • Enter the numbers “911” in the text “To” field
  • The first message should include the location and brief description of the emergency and the type of help needed
  • Text simple words, don’t use abbreviations, emojis, or slang
  • Push the “Send” button and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions

And of course, don’t text and drive.

“We’re looking for simple phrases so that we can quickly get to what the emergency situation is and which personnel should be deployed to that situation,” Harrison said.

As with normal 911 calls, dispatchers are prepared to receive pranks and non-emergency texts.

“What’s happening with a prank is that you’re taking away services that could be used for someone that’s actually in an emergency situation,” Harrison said.

Click on the image below to see a list of areas that will allow 911 texting.


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