Soon you will be able to TEXT 911 your emergency - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Soon you will be able to TEXT 911 your emergency

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You can soon text 911 your emergency You can soon text 911 your emergency
Can one text message save your life?

Fayette County 911 Emergency Services is gearing up for text messaging capabilities. Just the same as calling in your emergency, you'll soon be able to text it instead. Dispatchers will respond by text as well.

Authorities believe this method will be safer for the public and more efficient for responders. 911 Coordinator David Neal explained how this technology can potentially save your life.

"By responding accurately and efficiently to callers on cell phones who can't speak whether it be a medical emergency or a domestic situation where speaking on a phone would put them in danger," Coordinator David Neal told us.

Neal explains the return text, he said when someone calls 911 and hangs up, this is the most safest and most efficient way to find out if the call was accidental or a real emergency.

"Not only can we receive a text by someone reporting an emergency, but we can also originate or initiate a text message, for example, if we get a 911 hang up call or is someone butt dials, we can text them back," Neal said.

"I think that's wonderful, a lot of times people are unable to make a phone call in an emergency situation when you don't want someone to know you're trying to get help, so to know that you can text and someone will help you is great," said citizen Ashley Russell.

Fayette County is one of the first counties in the state to test out 911 texting capabilities. Russell is excited our area is a pioneer in safety capabilities.

"I'm very much looking forward to this technology being in our area. I know that's something I'll use. I have 3 kids so you never know what could happen," said Russell.

Neal told 59News, according to West Virginia State Code, the penalty for prank texting 911 will be the same as prank calling 911: a $500 fine and/or 6 months in jail.

Starting in June, Fayette County will test out these new services with Frontier Communications.

Neal said just like making a 911 call, a 911 text will be free.