Wilton police ready for 911 texting

All Wilton Police Department officers and dispatchers who operate the 911 emergency call systems have been trained in the new texting feature and are ready to serve the public.

“As technology continues to evolve it only makes sense that it be incorporated in the manner in which those in need of emergency services can communicate their need for assistance,” said Capt. Robert Cipolla of the new texting system, which allows people to text in their emergency calls rather than speak on the phone. That could be necessary if they are in a situation where they do not want to be overheard.

“In particular, in domestic violence situations wherein we discuss with victims safety planning measures such as a plan of how to get in touch with emergency services if needed, the Text-to-911 feature is another tool we can educate on to achieve the goal of keeping victims safe,” Cipolla said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week announced that the state has launched the new Text-to-911 capability as part of the new Next Generation 911 Emergency Telecommunications System.

The system, which is available statewide, is now in effect.

“The safety and security of our residents is a top priority and this is an important innovation that will indubitably save lives,” Malloy said in a statement. “There are emergency situations where a voice call to 911 is neither possible nor safe. This technology provides increased protection for residents, including victims of domestic violence and those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by increasing access to emergency responders in such scenarios.”

Officials are cautioning residents that voice calls to 911 remain the best and fastest way to contact emergency services whenever it is feasible to do so. Text-to-911 is only intended to be used when absolutely necessary or needed, which is why the new system’s theme is: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

Text-to-911 is also useful during a home invasion, or active mass shooting, and also during medical emergencies that render a person incapable of speech.

To use Text-to-911, enter the numbers “911” in the “to” or “recipient” field on a mobile phone or other handheld device. Text a brief message that includes the location of the emergency and what services are needed (police, fire, ambulance). After that, answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call center.

Information: text911ct.org