Residents and visitors throughout Weld County have a new tool to use in an emergency: Text-to-911.
The new service, available Monday, allows people in Weld County to reach 911 via text during an emergency if calling is not an option.
The service assists those with hearing disabilities, allows contact with 911 during a crime when calling might put someone in danger and allows for emergency contact when signal strength is too weak to place a call.
Text-to-911 is available to anyone with a phone with text message capability and is using a participating wireless provider. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon currently support Text-to-911 in Weld County.
“We have requested that all providers enable the Text-to-911 ability on their customer’s phones. So far the three largest providers have done just that. As others come on line, we will make sure to let the public know," said Public Safety Communications Director Mike Wallace in a press release.
Weld County officials want to remind residents that calling 911 should still be the first option in an emergency.
If you must text 911, there are limitations. Currently, Text-to-911 technology only understands words. No video or photos sent will be received. Your location also needs to be provided via text to receive help quickly. Third, text messages can be delayed or messages can be received out of order, delaying help.
Still, the service is a valuable tool for providing emergency services to 4,000 square miles.
“We are proud of the work our Public Safety Communications team has done to make this service available to residents,” said Weld County Chair Julie Cozad in a press release. “It provides another method for people to request help when it’s desperately needed. It’s a great asset to Weld County.”
You can learn more about Text-to-911 at WeldGov.com.