MONTPELIER -- Beginning May 19, T-Mobile customers in Vermont will be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help.
The addition of T-Mobile as a text to 911 provider in Vermont completes an initiative that began in 2012. In April 2012, the 911 Board and Verizon Wireless launched its first trial of this new service in Vermont. In December of that year, the four nationwide wireless carriers agreed to provide text to 911 services not later than the middle of May, 2014. AT&T launched their service in the fall of 2013, and Sprint added the service just last week.
Vermont is the first state to implement this service with all four of the major wireless carriers.
"The Enhanced 911 Board and the major wireless carriers, along with our technology partner Intrado, have been working since 2012 to establish universal text to 911 services in Vermont. The addition of T-Mobile completes this initiative, and now more than 98 percent of wireless subscribers in the state can send a text to 911 in an emergency," said David Tucker, Executive Director of the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board. "We are very grateful to all of the carriers for taking on this important initiative as it has already resulted in the saving of lives and property."
Wireless customers in Vermont using text-to-911 should always keep the following in mind:
- Customers should use the texting option only when calling 9-1-1 is not an option.
- Customers should always include clear location information with the first text message sent to 9-1-1, along with the nature of the emergency. Unlike 9-1-1 voice calls, emergency personnel will not be able to determine location information for a customer sending a text message to 9-1-1, nor will they be able to speak with the person sending the text to quickly ascertain their location.
- Abbreviations and slang should never be used with text messages to 9-1-1.
- Customers must be inside their carrier's "home" wireless network coverage in Vermont.
- As is the case with calling 9-1-1, customers should only text 9-1-1 for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.