The first message received by Randolph police in a new text-to-911 program helped save a suicidal man's life, authorities in Massachusetts say.
The program launched statewide on Friday, allowing 911 dispatchers to receive text messages in addition to phone calls about emergency situations.
As soon as he heard it, Randolph Police officer Scott Sherman knew the call was going to be different.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"This was a very odd ring tone which caught your attention, it was different," Sherman said.
The call for help wasn't a call at all, rather a text into the 911 dispatch center at the police station.
"It said, 'I no longer have any reason to live,'" Sherman said of the text message.
Sherman immediately dispatched Detective Kristen Gagnon and Officer Richard Lucey to the scene.
The two were able to quickly get to the home where they found a 23-year-old man hanging in a bedroom closet unconscious.
"We got there at a good time I guess because we didn't have to perform CPR, he still had a pulse when we checked, he was still breathing, not really alert," Detective Gagnon said.
The man was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.
"I want to commend the quick actions of our officers who saved this man's life this morning," Chief William Pace said. "I also want to recognize our dispatcher Officer Scott Sherman who received the text and worked to communicate with the subject while sending officers to respond to the home. We implemented a soft roll out of the Text-to-911 program on Friday and already we have seen the benefit first-hand."
While this was the Randolph Police Department's first 911 text, they say they're already seeing how it can be useful in domestic violence and home invasion emergencies.
"In a situation where you can't physically talk, you know, that technology is going to be incredibly helpful," Officer Lucey said. "I'm thinking texting domestic violence, where you can text 911 without speaking, if someone is getting into your house, breaking into your house, you don't need to make any noise you can just quietly text 911,"
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.