County adds Text 911 service

Promoted by county GIS coordinator

The Beaverhead County 911 Committee has implemented a Text-to-911 service to offer citizens another option to reach emergency responders in the event of an emergency.

The service can help citizens who are out of cellular telephone range but have enough coverage to send a text, the hearing impaired, or people who are in a delicate situation in which texting is the safest option to reach out for help.

Last year, Scott Marsh read an account of a woman in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County who was under attack by her partner. She locked herself in the bathroom and sent a Text-to-911 message.
“Her husband didn’t even know she was calling,” said Marsh. The police showed up and arrested the guy and possibly prevented a murder.”

The story resonated with Marsh and he brought it forward at the next Beaverhead County 911 Committee meeting. Marsh, the county GIS (geographical information systems) Coordinator and County Fire Warden is also the 911 Committee technical advisor. The committee membership includes the sheriff, police chief, city council member, representative of county fire, representative of ambulance service, and the DES Coordinator. The group holds quarterly meetings.

“I brought it to the 911 Committee about a year ago and they all thought it was a good idea so we contracted with Third Signal out of Missoula,” said Marsh. “He wanted to get it done by the first of the year and he finished up about six weeks before that.”

The service has been available in Beaverhead County since Nov. 11.

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