NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Charleston County Dispatch Center has been using the text-to-911 option for a little over two years, and the director said it's working.
"[It's been] outstanding, one of the things we were cautious about when we first started is we would be overwhelmed with the messages, but we're finding that's not the case and for the most part we're finding people are using it properly," Director Jim Lake with the Charleston County Consolidated 911 said.
The number of calls to 911 strongly outweigh texting 911, but in its two year period, the number of text-to-911 now averages about 15 calls per month.
The scenarios that people choose to text 911 range from people who are deaf or having hearing impairments, in domestic abuse situations, and times when there's an intruder.
"It's longer to process, it takes time to get through texting. They're using the commercial text network. So as you are aware, as a normal text user if you send normal text message they couldn't come in order. Sometimes they're delayed. So sometimes it's not as fool proof than an actual phone call," said Lake.
For some, they prefer to call 911, which could be why the number of people who text 911 is so much lower than those who call.
"We are advertising at the RiverDogs games. We are going to advertise at Sertoma. We go out to the schools and many events. And to the Hispanic community, the deaf community and we have a designated person who goes and out and spreads the message of when to call and when not to," said Lake.
The text-to-911 option is also available for Berkeley and Dorchester counties.