The Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority and Calhoun County Sheriff's Department have announced a new 9-1-1 technology, though they suggest caution when using it.

The county's dispatch office has announced the capability to receive texts to 9-1-1 in an emergency, though officials say it's not the preferred method for contacting 9-1-1. Sheriff Matt Saxton says a text to 9-1-1 does not provide automatic location information, which is essential in an emergency situation when seconds can make a difference.

So, officials are recommending always calling 9-1-1 in an emergency, and reserving a text to 9-1-1 to an emergency situation in which a call might not be possible. Here is more information from a county press release:

Calhoun County
Consolidated Dispatch Authority
Serving Our Community One Call at a Time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Text-to-911 Now Available in Calhoun County
Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority (CCCDA) announces it is live with Text-to-911. Text-to-911 service allows individuals to send a text message to 911 from their mobile devices if they are within Calhoun County. CCCDA has been testing the Text-to-911 service since early March. The first wireless service providers went live at the end of March and by mid-April three of the four major carriers had the capability to deliver text messages to the 9-1-1 Center. The final provider was brought online late yesterday.

“We are very proud to be able to offer Text-to-911 service to our residents and visitors” said Sheriff Matt Saxton, Chairman of the CCCDA Governing Board of Directors. “This tool provides another avenue for individuals to contact 9-1-1 during a time of need.”
While this new service is available, CCCDA wants to remind residents that calling 911 remains the most effective way to access emergency personnel.

We encourage all to: Call if you can; Text if you can’t! Important Information about Text-to-911:
 Location of the emergency is the most vital information when placing a Text-to-911.

 Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions

 Don’t text and drive

 A text or data plan is required to place a Text-to-911

 Photos and videos cannot be sent via Text-to-911

 911 cannot be a recipient of a group text message

 Don’t abuse 911 – Text-to-911 is only for emergencies

 Text-to-911 is not available everywhere in Michigan and the U.S.

 If you attempt to send a Text-to-911 and the service is not available, you will receive an
auto-reply message advising the service is not available and to make a voice call.

For further information, please contact CCCDA’s Administrative Office at 269-781-0911.