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Emergency texting service now available in Erie County

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photo courtesy of ErieCounty.gov
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In case of emergency, Text to 9-1-1 service is now available in Erie County.

Local officials the new service should not be used by the general public. Rather, County Executive Mark Poloncarz says it's to benefit speech or hearing impaired residents or a victim who can't talk during a crime.

"It's not instantaneous. You need to wait a few seconds, 10-12 seconds for a response," Poloncarz said.

"That 10 or 12 seconds can mean the difference in a life. So if somebody can call they should call, because we can get much more information. I can talk and say a lot more in 10 seconds than I can text."  

Poloncarz says Texting to 9-1-1 carries the same responsibilities as calling 9-1-1. Some of the smaller mobile phone carriers are not yet participating.