People living in Muscatine can now text 911 for help

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) -- People in Muscatine County can now text to report an emergency. The county is now among 97 counties in Iowa who are able to receive and respond to a text.

Muscatine Dispatcher Casey Shields is always busy. Looking to help anyone in need. Hearing certain calls isn't always easy, but it's the ones ending with help arriving that keep her going.

“Definitely, that's the perk, knowing you helped someone and it helps you sleep better,” said Shields.

Now people living in Muscatine County can also text her to report an emergency.

“Anytime they don't feel safe or they don't want someone to hear them talking on 911. They can now text and it will basically be silent where they are,” said Chris Jasper, MUSCOM Emergency Communications Center Manager.

All you have to do is enter the numbers 9-1-1 in the “to” field. Use simple messages and provide a location as quickly as possible. Once it's sent, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call center.

“So at this time, I would enter into my system that I have a 911 call at the Riverfront and I would dispatch medical that way,” said Shields.

People living in the area say this is the first they have heard of the service but are on board with it.

“I think it's a great idea and very helpful. I feel that the more ways people have to contact 911, the better,” said Daria Chesnut, who’s in favor of the service.

Although some say they are not sure if they would use the service. They know the impact it could have.

“Well, my first preference would be to talk to somebody. As a school teacher and in situations where you may have something happening at school where you don't want noise or don't want anyone to know you're in your classroom or wherever you're. The text option is great,” said Stacy Beatty, who’s in favor of the service.

So if you're ever in an emergency the county wants you to know. Call for help, if you can.

“We want you to call. If you can't or you don't feel safe. Then it's just another resource you have and you can text us,” said Jasper.

Jasper says the Text-To-911 was first available with just Verizon for about four to five months. In that time, there was someone in a domestic situation who was able to text for help. Now all six phone carriers can text and they are excited to see all the impacts it will continue to make.

Scott County Dispatch and Moline don't have the Text-To 9-1-1 service yet -- they're working on it. However, Rock Island County does have the service.