Text-to-911 service now available in Kenosha County

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Mobile phone users in Kenosha County now have a new way to access emergency services.

According to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, text-to-911 capabilities were recently enabled for all cell phone providers that serve the county. 

While people can now text 911 in an emergency situation, officials note that dialing in and speaking with a dispatcher is still the most efficient way to get help in most circumstances.

In a news release, Kenosha Joint Services says that text-to-911 could be most beneficial for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, for those calling from areas with poor cell service, and in times when speaking on the phone could put a person in increased danger.

If texting 911 seems like the best option, officials say it's helpful to include your location and a brief description of the nature of your emergency. Dispatch is not able to pinpoint the exact location of those texting, so including an address and the municipality where you're located is encouraged if possible.

Mike Blodgett, public safety communications manager for Joint Services, says those who successfully transmit a 911 call over text will receive an automated return message confirming delivery.

Cell phones must be on an active plan to text 911. Other messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, are not able to reach 911.

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