Cowley County Emergency Communications, in conjunction with the Kansas 911 Coordinating Council, now offers a Text-to-911 service during emergencies.

Cowley County Emergency Communications logoText-to-911 service is available for anyone who cannot safely make a voice call to 911 in an emergency, according to a recent news release.

This also is a valuable service to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

At this time, Text-to-911 is limited in the Cowley County area because cellular providers still are configuring local routing of text messages to the communications center in Winfield.

If a text is sent to 911 in an area where that service is not available, a message will be sent back to the phone, instructing the customer to make a voice call.

Some situations when Text-to-911 may be appropriate include:

  • Deaf callers, hard-of-hearing callers or individuals with a speech disability;
  • A caller who is unable to speak due to a medical or other condition;
  • Emergency situations that would put the caller in danger if making a voice call;
  • Extreme examples, including abduction, domestic violence or active shooter situations.

When texting to 911, follow these guidelines:

  • Provide your exact address or location.
  • Explain the type of emergency or help that is being requested.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions that the 911 dispatcher texts back.
  • Use plain language — do not use abbreviations, symbols, emoticons or photos.
  • Messages should be brief and concise.

Texting 911 can be done by typing “911” in the field for the phone number. No other numbers need to be used.

Texting should be done through a wireless phone’s text messaging service and not through a third-party texting application.

Text-to-911 does require an active telephone service plan with data or it will not work.

Remember, the best way to contact 911 still is by making a voice call.

Please only utilize this texting service only in emergency circumstances when a voice call is not possible or safe.

This information was provided by Cowley Cowley Emergency Communications Director Doug Allison.