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Call if you can, text if you can't!
Effective July, 2017, Roscommon County 911 is able to receive text messages from all major carriers including Verizon, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Smaller carries under these companies may also get a text message through. Your phone must have service that will allow a text message to be sent. This may be a prepaid phone or a phone that is under contract. You must also have a signal from the phone to the the nearest cell phone tower that is strong enough to allow a text message through.
The most frequently asked question is "How does it work?" The first rule is, always place a voice call to 911 unless there is some urgent reason you cannot. Real life examples of when a voice call is not the best choice include situations were being heard will make the situation more dangerous and medical situations were the person is unable to speak clearly. In those cases, text messaging 911 is the best option.
We hope you never find yourself in a situation requiring our assistance, especially if you must text for help. However, if you do end up needing to text 911, we will need to know where you need help and what the problem is. The Roscommon 911 team will then begin the process of gathering additional details to allow help to be sent. It really is as simple as sending any other text message. If you ever find yourself in a situation you determine you must send a text for help, be sure to mute your phone as Roscommon 911 will send a text message back to you.
There are many small carriers out there and most operate using one of the four major carriers networks. Under most circumstances those carriers will also be able to deliver a text message to 911. If you happened to be on that rare network that will not, you will receive a text message informing you to place a voice call. This message is not sent by Roscommon 911 and we would not know you need help; you will need to dial 911 under that circumstance.
Once again, Call if you can, text if you can't! We truly hope you never find yourself needing our assistance but we are happy to help if you ever do. Roscommon County 911 is proud to serve our citizens and visitors.
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Roscommon County is beautiful with large lakes, deep woods, and scenic views. We also have two major freeways, I-75 and US-127 that pass through the county with over a million yearly travelers. Whether you're a long time resident or just passing through, you will want to be found in the event of an emergency. Knowing where you're at and being able to relay that to 911 may save a life.
What if you don't know? Modern technologies are vastly improved but still often provide generalities. All 911 calls are routed to the nearest 911 center. The information of your location is then forwarded to that center. When calling from a landline phone the name and address registered to the phone is displayed. For most homes this will be the actual address of the home but for some businesses, it may be the name and address of a parent company located at a completely different address. Cellular phones do not provide 911 with an address for the caller. Under most circumstances it will provide 911 a latitude and longitude which, during perfect conditions, may be very accurate. However, factor in things such as being surrounded by a metal car, inside a building, weather, and age or condition of the phone, the information provided by the latitude and longitude could be off significantly. It all boils down to, you, the caller. Being aware of where you're at, staying calm during an emergency, and being able to verbalize your location to the 911 dispatcher will make the difference.
Roscommon Central Dispatch also has Smart911 which allows us to communicate via text message with cellular phones. It does not allow us to receive 911 calls via text message. Instead, 911 can start a text conversation with any active cell phone. The process would work like this: An individual places a 911 call via an active cell phone. That call is received at 911. The 911 dispatcher will attempt verbal communication with the caller. If there is no verbal response, it sounds as if speaking is impractical or unsafe, or the caller says they must text to communicate, the dispatcher will then start a text conversation. Callers should take whatever measures they must to ensure their safety during this process such as exit a burning building or hide in a safe place during a break-in.
Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to 9-1-1 calls from Deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers. If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should: stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 911. After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 911 call taker should answer and type GA for Go Ahead. Tell what is needed-police, Fire Department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker’s questions. If a deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller doesn’t have a TTY/TDD, the caller should call using a cellular phone or the relay center for assistance at 7-1-1.
Most accidental calls are considered just that, accidental. In most cases, 911 dispatchers will make an attempt to recontact the caller to ensure there is no real emergency. There have been times when a phone repeatedly dials 911 tying up valuable resources just like prank calls. Even when accidental it is treated very seriously. Callers will be provided an opportunity to correct the situation but there are laws in place similar to those against making prank calls.
If you know your phone is malfunctioning and calling 911 repeatedly some simple steps may clear up the problem. For cell phones simply turning it off and waiting for approximately 1 minute before powering it back on will clear it up. Land lines may be disconnected at the phone, waiting for a few moments, the reconnected. If the problem persists callers must contact their phone provider for a repair.
You can use any kind of phone: push button, rotary, cellular/wireless, cordless, or pay phone. Stay calm and state your emergency. Speak loudly and clearly when possible. Give the 911 call taker your name, phone number and the address where help is needed. Answer the call taker’s questions. Stay on the telephone if it’s safe to do so, and don’t hang up until the call taker tells you to.
Don't call 911 for information, directory assistance, paying tickets, for pet-related issues, as a prank, or just for a chat. If you call 911 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency.
If you know it is not an emergency but still require assistance, you may reach Roscommon Central Dispatch at 275-0911; the area code is 989 if from outside the area.