In an emergency, you can now text 911 in SLO County

You can now text 911 in an emergency, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.

Effective immediately, the Sheriff’s Office dispatch center is equipped to receive and respond to 911 text messages within San Luis Obispo County, the department said.

The program is designed for people with hearing and speech impairments, as well as those for whom it’s too dangerous to make a voice call to 911.

Funding for the program is provided by the California Office of Emergency Services.

Here are guidelines from the Federal Communications Commission on contacting 911:

▪  Call 911 if possible; text 911 if you can’t call.

▪  Be prepared to give your location. Location accuracy varies by cell phone carrier and shouldn’t be relied on.

▪  Texting 911 won’t be available if the carrier can’t ascertain the location of the device sending the message.

▪  Texting 911 isn’t available if you’re roaming.

▪  You need to have a text or data plan in order to text 911.

▪  Photos and videos can’t be sent to 911.

▪  Texts to 911 must be sent in English because there is no language interpretation for text available at this time.

▪  Texts to 911 should be sent using plain language. No abbreviations (such as ICYMI or lol) and no emojis.

▪  Do not send your emergency text to any number other than 911.

Here is a list of law enforcement and fire agencies in SLO County that are equipped to receive texts to 911:

▪  San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

▪  California Highway Patrol

▪  San Luis Obispo Police Department

▪  San Luis Obispo Fire Department

▪  Morro Bay Police Department

▪  Atascadero Police Department

▪  Arroyo Grande Police Department

▪  Grover Beach Police Department

▪  Pismo Beach Police Department

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.