(KMSP) - In an emergency, you call 9-1-1 for help. And for about a month now, you've also been able to text 9-1-1.
The technology been available statewide since the beginning of December, and is considered especially valuable to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Now, dispatchers are finding that’s not the only group using it.
Dispatchers are always ready for your call, but sometimes texting for help is safer.
This was definitely the case for one woman when she was kidnapped last month.
The woman said she forced at gunpoint to drive a stranger from Orono to St. Paul - all with her little girl also in the car.
“She couldn’t talk on the phone; there was some conversation back and forth, but she was able to text 9-1-1. By alerting law enforcement, we were able to ping the phone. We communicated with Ramsey County, and that vehicle was stopped on the Ramsey County side,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
The stranger was arrested near the 800 block of Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul, and the child and mom were recovered safely.
The sheriff said Hennepin County dispatchers have seen about 100 text to 9-1-1 calls for service and, surprisingly, not one has been from the deaf and hard of hearing. Rather, domestics and medical texts for help have been the norm.
“A woman was not able to talk on the phone; she was having respiratory breathing issues, but she was able to text to 911. Text to 911 was able to provide emergency services and police out to where she was,” Stanek said.
The word is still getting out about text to 9-1-1 technology, but as it does, the safer we become.
While texting is always a great option if necessary, dispatchers say it's still best to call 9-1-1 if you can.