York County unveils text to 911 and Smart911 to improve safety

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. –In an effort to improve public safety York County is rolling out two new features to the 911 system.

People in the county now have the option of texting 911 in an emergency. York County Commissioners announced the major improvement Tuesday.

Beginning Wednesday morning people who use one of the four major network carriers [Sprint, Verizon, At&t and T Mobile] can text 911 if they are not able to call. "If they can call we absolutely request you to call," said 911 Director Jacqueline Brininger. "But for those who can't this will help save lives."

Tips for people texting to 911:

  1. Only text in an emergency
  2. Avoid abbreviations
  3. No group texts
  4. If texting is not available users will get a bounce-back message

York county is also implementing Smart911, the second in the state. The free service allows people to go online and create a profile with important information such as medical conditions, allergies, the number of children and/or pets in a home, and even a floor plan. The information is tied to your phone number and will show up on a dispatchers computer screen if you have to call 911. That information will then be passed on to first responders in an emergency. "You can quickly see who is calling, you can quickly see who has medical history," said York County 911 Supervisor Amy Smith.

"We don’t have to wait to get to that home to get that information out. You know seconds count especially in a 911 center and when people are in jeopardy," said Brininger.

To sign up for Smart 911 click here.