New Safety System for Palm Beach County Residents

Amanda Hicks
Posted by Amanda Hicks
Updated on
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Published in Local News

 A new safety feature, text-to-911, will be ready to launch this June in Palm Beach County. This option will allow people who are in danger and can't speak to text a dispatch officer and summon help. 

People having a medical emergency that prevents them from talking, or those who are in situations where speaking is not safe can utilize text-to-911 to reach authorities. For instance, one woman in Orange County, Florida was hiding in a closet while someone invaded her home and she was able to communicate with police through text. Palm Beach County officials also say the system will especially benefit those who are deaf or have hearing problems. 

Martin, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties are planning on implementing the texting system as well by the end of the year. Just to the north, St. Lucie County started using text-to-911 in June 2016 and averaged 82 texts a year. Officers ask that people in emergencies still call when possible and abusing the texting system will be treated the same as misusing the calling system. 

According to Palm Beach County 911 planning coordinator Dan Koeing, if you text a 911 dispatcher, the typical response will be "Where are you?", "What is your emergency?", and "Are you able to make a voice call?" because a voice call gives more immediate feedback. 

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