COOS COUNTY -- Text 911 is being rolled out across the county on Friday, Dec. 1.
"The motto for this is 'Call when you can, text when you can't,'" said Dispatch Supervisor Joanne Beck with the Coos County Sheriff's Office. "We're the first center to have this on the southwestern Oregon coast."
Text 911 only works if there are minutes on a phone, unlike dialing 911 which will go through regardless. Not only that, but if a there's a lot of calls going through a cell tower, 911 calls get priority. With text 911, that won't happen.
"These texts won't get that priority, which is why they say to still call when you can," Beck said.
Beck provided examples of when text 911 should be used, including hikers and mushroom pickers when they get lost and are out of cell service but can still send a text.
"Or say the burglar gets into your house and you hide in the closet and don't want them to know you're there, so you send us a text," Beck said. "Or you have an abusive boyfriend who is telling you not to call the cops. In that case, send us a text."
The additional benefit is that it better serves the hearing impaired and deaf communities.
"In the past, they had to be hooked to a landline with a TTY (teletypewriter),"