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April 14, 2024

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Text-to-911 Now Available in Williamson County

If you are within the Williamson County limits, you will now be able to text 911 in case of an emergency.

Williamson County Emergency Communications and the City of Brentwood Emergency Communications have launched their new collaborative “Text-to-911” system, in which users will be able to send text messages to 911 dispatchers, enabling them to request help when a phone call isn’t possible.

This means that if you are within the Williamson County limits, you will be able to text 911 in an emergency. This includes Brentwood, Franklin, Fairview, Nolensville, Thompsons Station, unincorporated areas of the county and the entire city of Spring Hill, even limited areas of that city that are outside the Williamson County line.

“Calling 911 is still the fastest way to get help,” said City of Brentwood Emergency Communications Supervisor Kathleen Watkins. “Texting takes longer than talking on the phone, and location tracking technology is not the same with texting 911 as with a phone call. Also, voice calls allow for dispatchers to hear background noise that could provide critical information.”

“However, there are many situations where someone is unable to make a voice call for help, and that’s where Text-to-911 comes in,” said Williamson County Director of Emergency Communications Kristy Borden.

“Text-to-911 is a great resource for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, have a speech disability, or having a medical emergency where they are unable to speak on the phone. It is also helpful for situations where it may not be safe for someone make a voice call because it would attract attention, such as during a home burglary or domestic violence situation.”

The directors point out that if callers choose to text 911, it is important to include the location of the emergency and type of emergency in the first text message, to get help as soon as possible.

How Text-to-911 works:

  • Enter the numbers 911 into the “to” field
  • In the first message, text the location and type of emergency
  • Text in plain English, without abbreviations or slang
  • Respond to questions from the 911 dispatcher
  • Follow instructions the same as a voice call

If you accidentally send a text to 911, send a reply indicating that you have made a mistake. Text-to-911 is for use in an emergency only. Promptly answer questions so 911 dispatchers can determine that there is no emergency and you are not in danger. If you do not receive a text response from 911, contact 911 another way. As with all text messages, texts to 911 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all. You must have mobile phone and wireless carrier that allows you to send and receive text messages for text-to-911 to work.

What if I live in the Maury County side of Spring Hill? Can I also text 911?

All 911 calls made in Spring Hill go to the Williamson County 911 center. As long as you text 911 from within Spring Hill limits, the text should go through.

What happens if I try to text 911 in an area where texting 911 isn’t available?

You will receive an automated reply stating that Text-to-911 is not available in the area, and you will need to reach 911 another way.

Can I send photos or videos via text to the dispatchers?

Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 centers at this time.

Williamson County and the City of Brentwood are working together on this launch because of the close collaboration between the two municipalities. Brentwood’s 911 center operates within its city limits. The Williamson County Department of Emergency Communications serves unincorporated Williamson County, Nolensville, Thompson’s Station, Spring Hill, Franklin, and Fairview. Within these jurisdictions, the department supports 5 law enforcement agencies (Spring Hill Police, Franklin Police, Sheriff’s Office, Nolensville Police, and Fairview Police), seven fire departments (Spring Hill Fire, Franklin Fire, Williamson Fire-Rescue, Williamson County Fire-Rescue, Nolensville Fire, Arrington Fire, and Fairview Fire), and one emergency medical services department (Williamson Health EMS).

For more information, including other frequently asked questions, visit williamsonready.org/1944/Emergency-Communications.

 

 

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.