Text-to-911 now available in Citrus County

In an effort to increase accessibility to 9-1-1 emergency services, no matter the situation, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) will be implementing text-to-9-1-1 beginning on Aug. 9 .

Citrus County citizens who are deaf/hard of hearing, or have a speech-impairment will be among those most impacted by the text-to-9-1-1 implementation.

In situations such as domestic altercations, where a caller may need to seek help secretly, or in the event of an intruder, the ability to simply text 9-1-1 can help to alleviate many dangers.

The grant that is being used to fund the implementation of text to 9-1-1 was awarded by the State of Florida Division of Management Services E9-1-1 Board.  CCSO was awarded this $40,158 grant in June of 2018. The Emergency Operations Division and Communications Center have been working extensively to get the program up and running.

The NENA agreement between the “Big 4” wireless companies (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) ensures that our citizens will have the most access to coverage. A bill, passed through the Florida legislature and signed by Governor DeSantis, requires all Florida counties to implement text to 9-1-1 services by January 1st, 2022.

Things to remember when texting 9-1-1:
Traditional voice communications should be the first choice when contacting 9-1-1 during an emergency. Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used if you are not able to verbally communicate, or if your emergency situation makes speaking dangerous.
Messages should brief and should describe the type of emergency and the help needed.
Quickly answer the questions, and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
Do not use abbreviations.

“We are excited to begin offering text to 9-1-1 services to the citizens of Citrus County,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office strives to best serve every member of our community, and this is another step in the right direction.”

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