Montpelier, Vt. AT&T customers in Vermont can now use their mobile phones to send a text message to 911 for emergency help on a trial basis. The service, which will be available to AT&T wireless customers during a six-month trial period, launches today.
Last December, AT&T and three other wireless carriers entered into a voluntary agreement with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) to provide text-to-911 service by mid-2014, for those jurisdictions that are ready to receive them. Since that time, the Vermont 9-1-1 Board has been working to get the service implemented as soon as possible.
The addition of AT&T as a text-to-911 provider is beneficial for all of our residents and especially important for those with speech or hearing impairments, as well as those who are in dangerous situations where calling 9-1-1 may put them at a greater risk of harm, said David Tucker, Executive Director of the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board.
The Vermont 9-1-1 Board is currently in the process of working through the various stages of text-to-911 implementation with the four carriers that entered into the agreement with NENA and APCO. These carriers account for approximately 98 percent of the wireless voice calls received at the Vermont 9-1-1 centers. AT&Ts trial period is the latest step towards a goal of achieving ubiquitous text-to-911 services across the state.
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.
The first text message sent should always include clear location information and the nature of the emergency. Emergency personnel will not be able to access cell phone location or speak with the person who is sending the text.
Text abbreviations and slang should never be used.
Customers must be inside AT&Ts wireless network coverage footprint in Vermont.
As is the case with calling 9-1-1, customers should only text 911 for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.
* AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.