PHOENIX — 911, it's the three-digit number that no one hopes to call and can be the last resort when things go wrong.
However, what if you can't call because of a disability or the current situation?
Could you text?
Can you text 911?
- Megan Rose with the Arizona Department of Administration
- The Arizona Center for Disability Law
Yes, statewide text 9-1-1 has been in place since early 2021.
WHAT WE FOUND:
Texting 911 in Arizona seems to have its root in a lawsuit. Back in 2016, the Arizona Center for Disability Law filed a lawsuit claiming that a system that did not provide a way for those who may be mute or deaf to reach out to emergency services violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A judge agreed, and the system changed.
“The benefit of a text 911 system is accessibility.” Megan Rose said.
The system is not just beneficial to the disabled. The system can be used by people as an alternative if a phone call would put them in more danger.
The system was first only available in Maricopa County, the Department of Public Safety, and the Gila County Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). However, in 2021 the ability to text 9-1-1 went live statewide.
Arizona is one of 11 states to have text to 911 statewide. These states include AZ, CA, CT, DE, IA, IN, MD, ME, MN, SD, and TX.
Rose said the system will be updated again over the next two years to better allow videos and pictures to be sent through the system. The update will also give a more accurate location of someone reaching out in case of an emergency.
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