Beginning May 15th, Sprint customers in Vermont will be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help.
“The addition of Sprint as a text-to-911 provider is beneficial for all of our residents and especially important for those with speech or hearing impairments. Sprint is a preferred provider for many who are not able to make a voice call to 9-1-1, and we are excited to be able to offer this service to that community,” said David Tucker, Executive Director of the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board.
The Vermont 9-1-1 Board has been engaged in the process of establishing text to 9-1-1 service since early in 2012. An earlier trial with Sprint was successful, but the trial ended last year while Sprint worked on enabling the service across its nationwide network. The addition of Sprint is the latest step towards a goal of achieving text-to-911 services across the state.
Wireless customers in Vermont using text-to-911 should always keep the following in mind:
• Customers should use the texting option only when calling 9-1-1 is not an option.
• Customers should always include clear location information with the first text message sent to 9-1-1, along with the nature of the emergency. Unlike 9-1-1 voice calls, emergency personnel will not be able to determine location information for a customer sending a text message to 9-1-1, nor will they be able to speak with the person sending the text to quickly ascertain their location.
• Abbreviations and slang should never be used with text messages to 9-1-1.
• Customers must be inside Sprint’s “home” wireless network coverage in Vermont.
• As is the case with calling 9-1-1, customers should only text 9-1-1 for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.
Contact: David Tucker, Executive Director, State of Vermont, Enhanced 911 Board, 802-828-4911