Los Angeles County integrates emergency 911 text messages

Los Angeles County residents can now send text messages to 911 during an emergency, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The new system, called Text-to-911, helps people who are hearing-impaired, speech-impaired or unable to talk safely on the phone connect with emergency services. 

However, Text-to-911 is not intended to completely replace dialing 911. The time from when a text is sent and then received by the system can vary from instantaneous to several minutes, depending on location and cell service, said Sgt. Daniel Suttles, a spokesman for the Glendale (Calif.) Police Department.

The service is unavailable when a person is roaming. Photos and video cannot be sent or received, and messages should be sent in plain English with no abbreviations.

"Phone communication is still the primary way we want you to communicate because it's more reliable," Sgt. Suttles said.

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