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T-Mobile joins Erie County’s Text to 9-1-1

T-Mobile is the latest wireless carrier to support Text to 9-1-1 service in Erie County.

The county’s Department of Central Police Services announced Wednesday that T-Mobile has joined Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T, each of which began deploying the service when it was first launched two weeks ago by county officials. Now all four major wireless carriers provide Text to 9-1-1 service, which gives cellphone users an alternate way to contact emergency personnel if they are either speech-impaired or in a situation where it might be too dangerous to place a voice call, such as when a crime is in progress or when the caller is in the midst of a domestic violence situation.

The service operates like a regular text message. It requires the cell phone user to enter the numbers “911” in the “send to” field on the phone’s screen, then text a brief message containing the location of the emergency or the type of assistance that is needed and, finally, tap the “send” button on the screen.

Users are advised to text using simple words and avoid abbreviations.