North Dakota’s Text 9-1-1 Service Has Been Used Sparingly
In early October, North Dakota launched a service allowing people to text 911 if necessary.
After about six months (the service went live on Oct. 6), we decided to check in and see how often the service has been used.
The North Dakota Association of Counties (NDACO) was the organization that helped spearhead the initiative so we reached out to them.
Communications Manager Jeff Eslinger says that statewide, there is an average of about 20 to 30 text 911 calls per month which is about one a day or less.
"There were a few minor glitches that made some of them not get counted – just database stuff, nothing important like them not being answered of course," Eslinger said. "We know this number is likely low since, as I said, some were not counted separately but as regular 911 calls."
But even with the low number, Eslinger says not even all of those were emergency texts.
"Some are testing their phones to see that it works, and some are texting when they could just as easily call," Eslinger said.
But like they said when the service launched it is perferred that people call 911 anyway and only text if necessary.
"We prefer that they text only if they cannot call because calling results in better call data, like location," Eslinger said.
As far as the amount of 911 texts received by the Bismarck-Mandan dispatch center in the six months the service has been around, Mike Dannenfelzer, Communications Director for the Central Dakota Communications Center tells us they have received 24 911 calls via text. That's about four per month.