Chenango County authorities are informing residents that, while it’s not as good as calling 911 in an emergency, they have the option to Text-to-911 now.

The new service can help people who may not be able to make a voice call during an emergency like a home invasion or who have hearing or speech difficulties.

Officials are stressing that residents should “Call if you can, Text if you can’t.” Chenango County Sheriff’s Office Chief Dispatcher A-Wesley Jones says a text can take longer than a voice call since the message has to be typed out and then sent and like any other text, a 911 text can take longer to be received, get out of order or not get through at all.  Still, the technology offers another lifeline in an emergency.

Officials say Chenango County is one of the first in the state to receive 9-1-1 texts directly into the emergency phone system as the dispatch center steps toward getting away from traditional copper transmission lines.

To text to 911:

  • Enter the numbers 991 in the "To" field
  • The first text message to 911 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
  • Push "send"
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 operator
  • Text in words. Do not use abbreviations
  • Keep text messages brief and concise