County's 911 texting available to Sprint customers

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In Allegheny County, it's now possible for cell phone customers with Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint to send emergency text messages to 911 when unable to make a standard phone call.

The Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services announced in a news release today the addition of Sprint customers to the league of cell phone users that can text to 911.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald first announced the new capability in mid-May, when the service was opened to Verizon customers.

Since then, T-Mobile and now Sprint have made the service available to their customers. There have been 86 text messages sent to 911 since mid-May, according to a county spokeswoman.

It's not clear when the service will be available for AT&T customers.

The county, in announcing the Sprint news, reminded county residents that cell phone users should only use the text option when calling 911 is not an option, since a text message will cause a slightly longer response time than a typical voice phone call.

If texting is necessary, the county said in its release, phone users should provide location details and information about the emergency in the text message, and should refrain from using text abbreviations or slang.

First Published July 22, 2014 12:00 AM

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