Racine County text-to-911 service launched, voice call still best option

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave announced Tuesday, May 11 the launch of text-to-911 service in Racine County, providing another means for those experiencing an emergency to connect to help.

Anyone experiencing an emergency in Racine County is now able to send a text message to the Racine County Communications Center to relay information. However, officials note that a voice call to 911 is still the best option, as dispatchers can process the call much quicker and obtain a location.

Text-to-911 should be used in an emergency when voice calls are not possible. Examples include:

  • If a person is deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired;
  • If a person is in an area with poor cell coverage;
  • If a person may be in danger if someone hears them making a call.

"Safety is our highest priority, and this is a great public safety enhancement for Racine County. Text-to-911 gives residents facing an emergency another way to contact 911 dispatchers and get help," County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said. "We encourage residents experiencing an emergency to continue contacting the Racine County Communications Center by phone, but if you are unable to call, text 911."

According to a press release, the process of sending a text to 911 is the same as sending a text to anyone else. In the "send to" field, type 911 – no spaces, no dashes. In the message, write the type of emergency you are having and what you need, such as the fire department or an ambulance. It’s important to note that dispatchers cannot identify locations based on text messages, so make sure to include the street address and the city or town you are in. If you don’t know the address, provide a description of the location (i.e. a cross-street or landmark).

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Keep messages short, do not include pictures or videos, and avoid abbreviations or text lingo, as that could add confusion and delay response. When you receive a follow-up message from a dispatcher, answer as quickly as you can.

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