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Posted on: March 22, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Text-to-9-1-1 Option Available in South Dakota

911 Call if you can text if you can't. Image of a person send a text message

The City of Brookings is sharing the following press release on behalf of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety

All questions and comments should be directed to the Department of Public Safety at (605) 773-3178, http://dps.sd.gov

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Text-to-9-1-1 Option Available in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – Text-to-9-1-1 is now available throughout South Dakota.  

Wireless cell phone customers in South Dakota can text to 9-1-1 when they can’t call in an emergency. The text, like a phone call, will be routed to a local 9-1-1 dispatch center.  

“Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency when you can’t call 9-1-1,” said Craig Price, cabinet secretary for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. “The Text-to-9-1-1 option would be good to use if speaking out loud would put the caller in danger or if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired.” 

Text-to-9-1-1 is not yet 100 percent activated in Todd County. People texting 9-1-1 in that county will receive a message stating that text service is unavailable and they will be directed to make a 9-1-1 call instead. 

People who are unable to call 9-1-1, should remember these steps about Text to 9-1-1: 

  • Don’t text and drive. 
  • In the first text message, send the location and type of emergency.
  • Text in simple words; keep the text message short without the use of abbreviations or slang.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker. 
  • Voice calls to 9-1-1 are still the best and fastest way to contact 9-1-1. 
  • Call 9-1-1 if you can, text if you can’t. 

For more information on the Text to 9-1-1 program in South Dakota, visit text911sd.com.

The state 9-1-1 Coordination Program is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. 

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