920 emergency texts sent in Minnesota since December
Text-to-911, a service introduced in Minnesota in December, has already been used hundreds of times by state residents who are hearing impaired or are in an emergency where they need to remain quiet to stay safe.
According to the Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks, dispatch centers across the state received 920 texts in the first three months of the service, an average of 307 texts per month.
Text-to-911 has proven to be a valuable lifeline to Minnesotans who were in a dangerous situation in which they needed to remain quiet. Some examples from the past three months included a person who hid in a basement during a burglary attempt, a person who had difficulty breathing and couldn’t speak due to a panic attack, and a child who texted 911 while their parents were having a domestic dispute.
While the text-to-911 service has been a valuable resource, the Department of Public Safety urges people to use it only in an emergency. Dispatchers reported many Minnesotans using the text service for situations such as downed trees or icy road conditions.
When thinking about using 911 for an emergency, the Department of Public Safety recommends using the following phrase: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”