911 is an important public service, but it has it's limitations. Now, in some parts of the state, you can use text messages to notify emergency services of a need for help.
The use of text messages isn't just limited to young people who text often. It would also provide emergency access to people with hearing impairments, or who are in a situation in which using a phone to call for help would be dangerous. We spoke with a Staunton resident who said that she feels better knowing her deaf relatives would have access to emergency services.
"It gives me a little bit of peace of mind knowing they will be able to easily access 911 from where ever they are without having to go through another service or something like that, and it really makes me wonder why we haven't had this already, I mean, it's the 21st century, people text practically more than they call," said Betsey Suchanic, a Staunton resident with a deaf aunt and uncle.
If you attempt to text 911 in an area that doesn't offer the service, you will get a bounce-back message letting you know that the call for assistance was not received. You can currently text 911 in Henry, James City, Southampton, and York counties. The service will likely grow to other areas.