Morgan County residents now have the option to text 911 on certain cell phone networks.
As of this morning, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular customers in Morgan County will be able to access 9-1-1 services, according to a press release provided to My Social Jacksonville.
Morgan County 9-1-1 Director Phil McCarty says that the new service “by no means replaces voice calling.” McCarty tells citizens that traditional voice calls using the 9-1-1 service are still the preferred way of communicating with emergency services, but the new TEXT911 service “is designed primarily for use by the extensive Deaf Community in Morgan County.”
Currently, deaf callers needing emergency assistance are forced to use voice relay services, which can greatly reduce response time. McCarty cautions, however, that the TEXT911 service is at the mercy of the cell networks and can be affected by times of heavy use. In addition, those wanting to use the TEXT911 service can’t do so while using WiFi, as the text must be sent over the wireless network.
Morgan County is one of only a few counties in Illinois where TEXT911 services are available. McCarty says that the ability to text for emergency services is “a perfect fit for Morgan County” and, while it can be used by anyone, is “obviously a huge benefit to deaf users.”