A national safety campaign is aiming to help people utilize their cell phones during an emergency.
It’s called the “Text First, Talk Second” campaign.
Emergency crews want people to send short text messages like, ‘I M OK’ to loved ones letting them they’re safe, instead of calling.
According to Palm Springs Fire Chief Blake Goetz, 800 text messages take up the same bandwidth as one cell phone call.
“We want to reserve the phone calls for the people who need the assistance and via verbal communication, if you’re ok and just communicating you’re ok, leave the airspace alone,” said Goetz.
Some Palm Springs residents said some people may never turn to text when calling is faster.
“It’s real personal when something like that happens that quickly. Your reaction time to it is real small,” said Jeff Jones.
“Texting takes more thought than just picking up the phone and calling,” said Ed Young, part time Palm Springs resident.
It might not take much for younger people to text during an emergency but some older people might be hesitant.
“So for the older adults and the parents, we need to get on the bandwagon, on the same page as them and text back,” said Goetz.
Goetz said a landline is actually preferable to a cell phone during an emergency because it’s more reliable and they don’t need a power source. But if landlines are down, there’s a good chance local cell phone towers are as well, so he recommends staying in touch with someone from out of the state.
“It’s better to call someone out of state than call someone locally because chances are you’ll get a circuit that way,” said Goetz.
So as the anniversary of 9-11 approaches — you might want to think twice about calling 9-1-1 during a disaster. it could help emergency crews save lives.