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911 now available via text

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Speaking directly to a 911 dispatcher is always the best and fastest way to get help in an emergency or to report a crime in progress, but for those times when it is not possible, there is now “Text to 911.”

The Boerne Police Department has announced that residents anywhere in the cities of Boerne and Fair Oaks Ranch as well as Kendall County may text “911” on their mobile phones and be connected with a dispatcher.

“Recent major critical incidents across the country have shown that text messaging has increasingly been used as an effective form of communication to report an emergency so we are pleased to be able to now offer this service to our residents,” Boerne Police Chief Jim Kohler said.

Texting 911 gives emergency dispatchers the ability to communicate with citizens who find themselves in a position where they are unable to safely call 911 because of a serious situation, information from the BPD stated.

These situations could be medical emergencies that render the caller incapable of talking or when speaking aloud could put a caller in danger if a perpetrator were to hear the conversation with a 911 operator, such as an abduction, a home invasion robbery or a domestic violence situation.

This new feature also is beneficial to the hearing impaired and can be helpful in an emergency as opposed to a voice call to 911.

One important thing to know about texting 911 is, unlike phone calls, text messages don’t send a location to the dispatcher. It’s critical that a text to 911 include an address or location, the BPD stated.

Another thing to know about texting 911 is mobile phones need to have a service plan that includes texting. Individuals can make a voice call to 911 with a phone that doesn’t have a service plan, but that won’t work for texting.

“Traditional voice calls to 911 are still the fastest way to reach emergency help and should always be the first option,” Kohler said.