Ionia Co. rolls out 911 texting

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jun 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-03 20:16:03-04

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. - Ionia County Central Dispatch is making things a little easier if you find yourself in an emergency and can't call 911.

The county became the sixth county in the state and the first in West Michigan to offer 911 via text.

According to Dispatch Director Jim Valentine, the four main cell phone carriers announced the creation of the technology was available about a year ago.  It is up to local dispatch centers to implement the system.  Ionia County cleared their last technological hurdle Wednesday afternoon and their system is now online.

"It's extremely beneficial to hearing impaired individuals, where they can't communicate by phone," explained Valentine.  "It would be ideal in situations where talking on the phone would endanger the caller, like a domestic violence situation or if somebody breaks into your house in the middle of the night and you're hiding from them."

Valentine tells us that you should still call 911 instead of text if you can, and only text if you have to.

We'll have tests of the technology on Fox 17 News at 5 and 6 p.m.