HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – On Tuesday Horry County 911 Communications launched text to 9-1-1 services.
“Text to 9-1-1 is for emergencies only and we really want to stress that to folks. That if you’re in an emergency situation our message will always be call if you can, text if you can’t,” said Renne Hardwick, director of 911 and radio communications.
Some emergencies warrant discretion where talking on the phone is unsafe. Situations like domestic violence, kidnapping, and active shooters.
Chief of police Joseph Hill explained a case where texting 911 would have been the safest option.
“It was a domestic case where a young lady was under duress. She was held against her will and had to communicate with our lovely telecommunicators to get her some assistance. How nice it would have been to have text to 9-1-1,” said Hill.
The texting service will also help the hearing impaired.
“Our hearing impaired community would be our most important clients that we would want to be able to communicate with. And we’re really glad to be doing this so they can communicate on the devices they use every day,” said Hardwick.
Hardwick says Horry County has some the most advanced text to 911 technology that gives dispatchers the opportunity to reply and ask questions.
Text to 911 does services do not allow group chats.
When texting a dispatcher you are advised to write complete words and avoid using slang or abbreviations.
Anyone can text an emergency to 911 within the county’s jurisdiction.
Horry County dispatchers will also work with surrounding police agencies to relay any text to 911 messages that are meant for another area.