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Niagara County residents can now text 911 in case of an emergency

You simply send a text message like normal to 911 and a dispatcher will respond with some questions to get you the help you need.

NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — If you live in Niagara County, you can now text 911 in case of an emergency. 

The Niagara County Sheriff's Office said it's a way to get folks help when it's not safe to talk.

“The Sheriff’s Office has been working diligently to implement text to 9-1-1 in Niagara County. This feature will give a voice to those who would otherwise be unable to make a phone call in that emergency situation. I credit the work of our Communications Division for overseeing this project and bringing Niagara County into the next generation of 9-1-1,” Sheriff Filicetti with the NCSO said.

You simply send a text message like normal to 911 and a dispatcher will respond with some questions to get you the help you need.

The NCSO said responses will take a little longer so calling is still the best option when possible.

The NCSO offered these 911 text tips:

  • Enter the number "911" in the "To" field.
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and the type
  • of help needed.
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations, “emojis,” or slang.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.
  • A voice 9-1-1 call is still the best way for callers to exchange information with 9-1-1 dispatchers, and the
  • National Emergency Number Association encourages the public to use the following guidelines when making
  • a Text to 9-1-1 call:
  • Place a voice call to 9-1-1, if possible.
  • Text messaging calls should only be used in extreme situations where it is unsafe to make a voice call
  • to 9-1-1 or when a caller cannot communicate via a voice call. These situations may include:
  • Domestic violence
  • Home invasion
  • School campus violence
  • Natural disaster
  • Callers who are deaf, deaf-blind, late-deafened, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities
  • Any other situation where speaking out loud could put the citizen in further danger.
  • It is important to remember that several factors may cause a text message to take longer to process than a voice call; these include:
  • A text needs to be typed
  • The message needs to travel through the system
  • The 9-1-1 dispatcher must read the text
  • The 9-1-1 dispatcher must type a response
  • Texting is not always instantaneous. As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, get out of order, or may not be received.
  • Text messages may have length limitations (i.e., 160 characters) that may cause the message to be bifurcated or cut off part of the message.
  • In some instances, text messaging does not carry location information or is not equal to the current location technology with a voice 9-1-1 call; therefore, the caller should provide it in the first text message requesting help.
  • Text to 9-1-1 service provided within the boundaries of Niagara County may not be available in other areas of the State or Country. If texting to 9-1-1 is unavailable in your location or temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is unavailable and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.
  •  A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-9-1-1; fees related to sending messages could apply based on the individual device owner's service plan.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  •  Do not text and drive!

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