Oct 19, 2012 / 1:27 pm
By now, everyone should be aware the quickest way to reach out for help in an emergency is by calling 9-1-1.
What you may not know however, is texting 9-1-1 will not work
Senior Media Relations Officer, Cpl Dan Moskaluk reports the equipment at the 9-1-1 Call Centre in Kelowna is not available to receive text messages.
With texting becoming a more widely accepted method of communication, emergency services personnel are worried someone in a crisis my try to send a call for help via text, only to have it fall on deaf ears.
Moskaluk explains that wherever you are in North America, if you dial 9-1-1, the telephone system is going to direct your call to the closest 9-1-1 centre to you.
There is not a universal text number for 9-1-1, so if you text it, it is not going anywhere.
He also points out that there is no way for the caller to verify whether or not their text message has been received and it is dangerous to assume that help is on the way when no voice contact has been made with an operator to confirm this.
Also, operators must be able to fully understand the urgency of the public's need, and obtain full and accurate details of events and complaints, neither of which can be done through text-based communication.
For the hearing impaired, using the TELUS Relay Service External link remains the best method for communicating with 9-1-1 or your local police.
Moskaluk also reminds people that you can provide anonymous and secure tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or by leaving a tip online.
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