News for Rhode Islanders

Rhode Islanders will soon be able to text emergency dispatchers.


On Thursday, major phone carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon launched the service in states like Maine, Vermont, and New York. People can reach dispatchers by texting a message to 911.

Rhode Island isn’t yet equipped for the service. WPRI.com reported it will be rolled out in the Ocean State later this year or early next year.

Federal authorities said the service will help the deaf and people who have trouble speaking. They said people should always make a voice call when possible, since dispatchers can often more quickly get important information from callers.
Rhode Island 911 co-director Gregory Scungio told WPRI the state receives about 1,500 911 calls a day. He said texting will be another tool.

“The younger generation communicates this way, primarily by text,” he said.

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