Effective Feb. 1, 2016, Jefferson County 9-1-1 and Clallam County 9-1-1 will be ready to receive Text-to-911 from the public.Text-to-9-1-1 allows members of the community to send text messages to reach9-1-1 emergency call takers from their mobile phones or other devices. “We see the main benefit of this technology as helping the Deaf/hard of hearing and those with speech difficulties in gaining equal access to 9-1-1 during an emergency. This technology will also allow the general population to access 9-1-1 when they are not able to freely talk on their device,” said Jeffcom Director Karl Hatton. It is important to remember a few critical details about text-to-9-1-1. 1. In some areas, Text-to-9-1-1 is not available. Washington State 9-1-1 centers are working diligently on getting this technology into their centers. If you text in an area without coverage, you will get a “bounce-back” message asking you to call 9-1-1 for help. 2. Text-to-9-1-1 does not provide location accuracy and it is of critical importance that you know your location and are able to provide that location to the 9-1-1 call taker if you send a text. 3. Text in plain English and avoid the use of common texting abbreviations. Don’t use emoticons or attempt to send attachments such as video or pictures. The 9-1-1 center has no ability to open attachments. 4. Only Text-to-9-1-1 if you are unable to call 9-1-1. We want to remind the public: “Call if you can, text only if you can’t.” Before using Text-to-9-1-1, check with your wireless phone company. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and a wireless service subscription or contract with a wireless phone company. You also need a “wireless data plan.” Remember, you can make a voice call to 9-1-1 using a wireless phone that does not have a service plan, but you cannot send a text message to 9-1-1 without a service contract that includes texting. Each phone or other text message-capable device is different. Familiarize yourself with your phone’s text message capabilities before you have a need to text 9-1-1.