August 8, 2020

Text-to-911 catching on slowly in Franklin County

Texting 911 from a cellphone went live Jan. 23 in Franklin County, and since then, the Columbus Division of Police has fielded frequent exchanges in which people text when they could call instead.

To text 911, users enter “911” into the recipient field of their mobile device and text a brief but detailed message that includes location and the type of emergency. The initiative’s website, commissioners. franklincountyohio.gov/text911, says any text-enabled phone or tablet computer with a data plan that allows texts would work, regardless of service provider.

Text messages sent to 911 in Franklin County could be received at 911 dispatch centers at any of five primary wireless public-safety answering points, or PSAPs, within the county, said William Griffith, communications-systems manager for the Columbus Department of Public Safety. They are Columbus, Dublin, Franklin County, Grove City and Westerville facilities, he said.

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