People across Maine are now able to text 911 messages.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has been working for the past several months with major wireless carriers to implement the service statewide. PUC spokeman Harry Lanphear says texting 911 should only be used when making a voice call is not an option — for example, if people are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.
“This is perfect for those kind of folks, and then secondly if it’s a medical emergency where the person can’t speak for whatever reason, or maybe it’s a home invasion situation,” he says.
Lanphear says it’s critically important that people provide location information in the first text message. He says in a rural state like Maine, it may not be the nearest tower that picks up the emergency text. In addition, cellphone users must be in range of a cell tower located in Maine.