GREENFIELD, IND. - When you dial 911, it only takes a few seconds until you hear the dispatcher's voice on the other line.
Dispatchers can receive hundreds of calls in minutes, especially during heavy rains and intense thunderstorms when people dial 911 to report non-emergency issues like flooding and storm damage.
“The call volume raises, the call volume goes way up,” said Director of Hancock County Emergency Operations John Jokantas.
Hancock County Emergency operations is now asking residents to help free up their phone lines for life-threatening emergencies by texting 911.
“During storms, if there is a tree down or a power outage, we want to encourage people to text for 911. We want to be able to have those 911 calls come through for fires and accidents and for people with medical emergencies during those storms,” said Jokantas.
To text your non emergency to dispatch, send message to 911 like you would any other number. Give them the basic information about the issue and wait for a reply.
“Always include your location first. It is the most important thing. We can gather all of the other info after that,” said Jokantas.
The dispatcher sees the text pop up on their screen and allows them to message back and forth with the person about the issue. Hancock County emergency dispatchers say the text messages are just as much of a priority as calling 911. They take the information and determine if they need to contact authorities to take care of the issue, freeing up phone lines for the call center.
“We want to make sure that the fires, accidents, and things get to us immediately,” said Jokantas.
Hancock County dispatch believes this technology will make their workers faster and more efficient, giving them more time to help save lives around the county.