Man texting

Dreamstime/Piero Cruciatti

Now You Can Text For Help In An Emergency

San Mateo County Launches Text-to-911

KCBS Radio Morning News
October 12, 2018 - 6:42 am

SAN BRUNO (KCBS Radio) -- A growing number of municipalities are enabling 911 texting. Now every police, fire and sheriff's dispatcher in San Mateo County can receive emergency calls for help via text message.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, whose district includes San Mateo County, sees it as a nod to modern reality. "We text all the time," said Speier. "I think our first likelihood now is not to call someone; it's to text someone."

Speier attended a Thursday launch event for the countywide text-to-911 program at San Bruno Police headquarters. San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said while countywide text-to-911 is now a reality, a phone call should always be the first choice in an emergency.

And Barberini said those who do choose to text should make sure they can be understood. "Do not use abbreviations, emojis, or slang," he said. Barberini also advised 911 texters to always include their location, because dispatchers might not be able to determine it.