Thursday marks the beginning of Maryland’s statewide text-to-911 service, which allows certain cellphone users to text for help in an emergency when placing a phone call is not possible.
The service is available to customers enrolled in the text messaging and/or data plan for one of the major wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile along with the former Sprint.
Text-to-911 is for people who are:
- Deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability;
- In a situation making it unsafe for a voice call to 911;
- Experiencing a medical emergency and may be unable to speak.
“We are thrilled to officially launch text-to-911 service here in Maryland,” said Kevin Kinnally, associate director of the Maryland Association of Counties. “While a phone call is still the preferred way to contact 9-1-1, the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 gives residents and visitors — particularly those who may have difficulty placing a voice call — better access to emergency services.”
In 2013, Frederick County was the first jurisdiction in Maryland to launch the service.
Text-to-911 was launched in D.C. in 2017 and Virginia made the service statewide in 2018.