People in Clermont County can text 911 for emergency help

BATAVIA, OH (July 19, 2023) — People in Clermont County can now text 911 for emergency help. This could be especially helpful for people with a language barrier, or hearing or speech impairment. It also could help when a caller feels unsafe making a voice call due to a domestic situation, burglary in progress or prowler.

The Clermont County Department of Public Safety Services asks people with emergencies to call 911 if they can, but text 911 if they can’t.

“We always prefer voice calls, but text-to-911 offers a helpful alternative when that may not be possible or work very well,” said Jessica Wiederhold, Director, Clermont County Department of Public Safety and Services. “We appreciate the support of the county commissioners in starting this new service.”

Text-to-911 was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in March. Testing began in April, with dispatchers responding to texts sent to 911 and texting back to 911 hang-up calls.

Clermont County is partnering with Agent511 for text-to-911 because it integrates into the RapidSOS Portal, which dispatchers use to pinpoint the location of callers. This gives dispatchers the ability to initiate an outbound text to a number at any time to assist if they are unable to communicate by voice. Dispatchers also can send a link via text that callers can click to share their exact location. They have the ability to send a mapping link to first responders to share the exact location of an emergency. Finally, language translation services are included to better assist non-English speaking callers and those with hearing/speech issues.

Text-to-911 already has proven beneficial in these instances:

* A dispatcher assisted a younger caller via text whose mother was being physically abused by her boyfriend.

* A dispatcher was able to send an outbound text to a Spanish-speaking caller and ascertain what the problem was and get help to the caller’s family in another country.

*A dispatcher assisted a female via text who believed that someone was breaking into her house.