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"Text-to 911" saves woman's life during asthma attack

Posted at 9:31 AM, Dec 19, 2018

EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WSYM) — You learned how to call 911 at a very young age, but in today's age of technology, texting can also be a tool to save your life.

Gwyn Peters had just put her grandchildren down for a nap when she suddenly had a severe asthma attack. That's when the 47-year old picked up her phone and texted 911 for help.

"Asthma attack. I'm 47, female with a history of collapsed lungs," is how Peters started her text conversation with Eaton County 911. In the messages, you can see how the dispatcher responds and keeps her calm while getting more information. FOX 47 was able to catch up with the man on the other side of the screen who says he's no hero and was just doing his job.

"I give Ms. Peters all the credit because everything that she did I would have taken six to seven messages back and forth, she gave it to me in the first initial message and I could get her the help right away. So she did my job for me," Nolan Brown said.

Dispatchers say there are lots of other times that this technology can come in handy.

"In a position where they can't speak freely. Somebody is there threatening them, or maybe you're in a bank that's getting robbed. If you've been kidnapped and you're in the trunk or a car. Domestic violence situations. Texting is a perfect opportunity," Brown said.

Dispatchers say call if you can, and text if you can't. And for people like Peters who physically couldn't, she is thankful that first-responders have the ability to use their resources. She is especially thankful for Brown.

"I just want to say thank you. You kept calm, which kept me calm, which kept my my grandchild calm. I'm just very thankful that they've got the resources they do to help," Peters said.

To use Text-to-911, just type 9-1-1 where you would type the contact name and then type your message.

The Mid-Michigan counties that have the feature are: Barry, Branch, Calhoun, -Eaton, Hillsdale, Ionia, and Clinton. Ingham, Jackson, and Shiawassee counties are all actively working to implement the 911 texting feature.