Text-2-911 now available in Waynesboro

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - More and more Virginia towns, counties, and cities are making text-to-911 available, and Waynesboro is the latest addition to the list.

Two years ago, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring it to be an option. Around the valley, it’s already available in Staunton, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

If you live in Waynesboro, or are traveling in the area, you can text 911 in an emergency and someone will respond. Some service providers allow pictures to be sent as well. Waynesboro ECC said it's great for people who are hearing impaired, and for some situations where talking may not be safe.

"A good example of that could be a domestic violence situation where someone needed to reach out for help but they couldn't make a call where the abuser would be close by, but they could be texting," Gary Critzer, Director of Emergency Management for Waynesboro, said.

While the service is now available, Critzer said they prefer people to call 911 if they're able to.

"The dispatcher has the opportunity to ask questions more openly," Critzer said. "It also lets the dispatcher hear background noise and things that are going on which might cue into problems at that address or at that residence."

The text messages to 911 are recorded, like 911 calls are. Anyone can text 911 with any phone, although it does have to have active service.

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