New 911 will feature emergency text service in Richmond County

Richmond County adding 911 texting service

911 emergency services in Richmond County is changing and you'll soon be able to send picture and text message to dispatchers.

"In those type situations where someone might be locked in a trunk. We have situations maybe someone is in a closet and they feel that somebody is in their house and they can't talk. That will actually, that will be a great feature," said Dominick Nutter, Richmond County's 911 emergency services director. 

Nutter said that this feature could change the game. He said that he's been looking into adding the emergency text to the call center for years, but hasn't gone through with it yet because he wants to make the best choice.

"What's the best way to go and doing analysis of people who have already gone forward, then I can make a better decision," said Nutter

That decision could make the service more accessible, especially for individuals with speech and hearing impediments.

"People with disabilities that have problems communicating, and they could only do it at home, now, we'll be able to serve them one-hundred percent of the time which is why I'm leaning forward with this initiative," Nutter stated. 

Gloria Garner, an audiologist specializing in hearing at University Healthcare's speech and hearing center, agreed.

"I am so proud of Richmond County. I think that not that many counties have implemented this technology so I think it is a very progressive, forward thinking move for us and it takes good care of our citizens who have hearing loss," Garner said. 

She thinks that the emergency text capability will not only improve accessibility, but security too.

"Also for them to be able to use that tool in an emergency situation, it's going to be very comfortable for them, natural for them, and I think that it will go a long way when it comes to promoting their sense of security and safety and well being," Garner added.

Nutter said that once a budget is approved, the 911 service will use a temporary four digit number that will be able to receive pictures and text messages.