State OK With Limited Texts to 911

Emergency managers would prefer you call, rather than text, 911 if you're able.

It’s been a year since the rollout of text to 911 in Connecticut, and few people have been using it.

Data acquired by NBC Connecticut Investigates indicates less than one percent of the people asking for help use text to 911.

Numbers just released by the state showed those amounts have risen slowly, however.

In September, data showed that in the first year of text to 911 in Connecticut , the small number of texts sent fell into one of three buckets:

  • People who were just testing the system out
  • People who mistakenly texted 911
  • People who had genuine emergencies

Enhanced 911 Commission chair John Elsesser said he hopes going forward people will realize text to 911 works and they don’t need to test it anymore.

actual 911 text message conversation

*Note that any typos or misspellings reflect the conversation as it appears on record

He added that the state is OK with the fact that an overwhelming majority of those asking for help still call instead of text, noting text to 911 is mostly for the disabled and people in dangerous circumstances where they can’t talk out loud.

“We anticipated that it wasn’t going to be highly used based on New Hampshire’s experience which was ahead of us. But it’s clearly a viable option and has been successful in reaching people who were compromised and couldn’t speak,” Elsesser said.

Elsesser told us about a few cases where people were in distress, texted 911, and got help.

The state also recently did a survey about text to 911.

It says 85 percent of respondents were aware Connecticut has the service, and were able to understand when it’s appropriate to use text to 911 versus calling.

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