DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Available now is a new technology helping residents in Walton County receive emergency services through text message. The service provides a new way to reach 911 never used before in Northwest Florida. Text to 911 is a new feature available on all major carriers in Walton County.
Citizens who are deaf, hearing impaired, or have a speech disability can now send a “short message” (SMS) text to 911 during an emergency. When a voice call might be dangerous or otherwise impossible texting to 911 is now a safe alternative.
Residents should check with their wireless phone company before texting to 911. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and wireless service subscription or contact with a wireless company with a “data plan”.
Texting to 911 is different from making a voice call to 911. When making a voice call dispatchers will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location automatically. However, in most cases when you text 911 from a wireless phone, the dispatcher receiving the information will not know the texting party’s location.
For this reason, when sending a text message to 911 it is imperative to also send your location as quickly as possible.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is the first to introduce this new technology LIVE in Northwest Florida. This is a prime example of how we are continuing to work to keep our community safe.