Loudoun County adds text to 911, but asks for calls

WASHINGTON — There’s a new option for those in an emergency in Loudoun County, Virginia: The county is now offering text-to-911 capability.

Text-to-911 technology continues to expand in the D.C. area. Those in Frederick County, Maryland and Fairfax and most recently, Arlington counties in Virginia can already text under duress.

The service is now available in Loudoun County, but only if you’re unable to place a call. Texting technology is intended for use by those unable to speak, deaf or hard of hearing.

The Federal Communications Commission says if residents are able to, they should “always make a voice call to 911 instead.”

If the area does not offer 911 text where you’re reaching out for help, the text will bounce back.

The service is available to those in a dangerous situation who cannot call, but nearly every jurisdiction that has announced the technology says dispatchers prefer to talk to you over the phone.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated Montgomery County, Maryland had text to 911 capability when it does not.

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