LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– Fayette, Jessamine, Lincoln, and Garrard Counties are joining Franklin County in accepting text messages for 9-1-1 situations.
Calling 9-1-1 is an emergency service that we all rely on, but not all can use.
Cole Zulauf is a deaf man who had a scary situation with his leg going numb last fall, calling 9-1-1 has not been an option.
“I was able to call my son. And he was asleep. It was 1 o’clock in the morning. I had to wait until 5 am until I was finally able to call my son to call 9-1-1 for me to come to my home to get me,” Zulauf said.
The new text-to-call service would have been a game changer as Zulauf could have received help much sooner.
“As you’ve heard today, not only for the deaf and hard of hearing, but for the domestic violence, autism, speech impaired, it is an absolute necessity,” said Virginia Moore, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Accepting text messages in 9-1-1 situations also helps when speaking out could escalate the emergency situation.
Type ‘911’ in the ‘to’ line and then in the body of the message, type your location and a description of the emergency.
Operators ask that you don’t include emojis, abbreviations, pictures or videos. For now, just use plain language.
Moore said that the entire state of Indiana already has this service.
“Maybe within a year, we’ll have most of the state covered,” said Moore.
9-1-1 operators hope that residents will still use calling as their first option, if possible, because information can be gathered faster over a call.