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Oct. 13, 2020 – Voter registration deadline.
Oct. 20, 2020 – Mail-in ballot request deadline.
Oct. 22, 2020 - Public demonstration of voting equipment at 1 p.m. This is open to the public to view remotely.
Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, 2020 - Early voting at 30 Duke St. in Prince Frederick from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including Saturday and Sunday.
Nov. 3, 2020 - Election Day. Voting centers will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Nov. 12, 2020 - Provisional canvass beginning at 10 a.m.
If you are eligible to vote and missed the voter registration deadline, you may register using same-day voter registration.
Same-day voter registration will be available in person at any vote center during early voting (Oct. 26 through Nov. 2, 2020) and on Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020).
You must bring a document showing proof of residency, such as a Maryland driver’s license or identification card with your current address. If your driver’s license or ID do not show your current address, you can show a recent paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other official document with your name and address.
You can vote and submit your mail-in ballot as soon as you receive it! Mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3. Voters are encouraged to return mail-in ballots as soon as possible, either by mail or using an election drop box located in the county.
Voters can submit their voted mail-in ballot in the return envelope provided either through the U.S. Postal Service or any of the seven drop boxes located throughout the county.
As of Sept. 30, a drop box is available at the Community Resources Building in Prince Frederick. All others will be available beginning Oct. 17 at all vote center locations and two additional drop box only locations. Drop boxes are available until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Drop boxes are secured and checked daily by Election Board staff.
Ballots are typically mailed or available for download about three weeks before an election.
If you requested a ballot but have not received it, and have verified on the voter look-up website that your ballot has been sent, wait a few days. Your ballot may be in transit. If the election is one week away and you haven’t received your ballot, please contact the Calvert County Board of Elections by calling 410-535-2214 or email email@example.com.
If you received your ballot by mail or fax, contact the Calvert County Board of Elections and request a replacement ballot.
If you downloaded your ballot, log back into the website. If you made your selections in the system, make your selections again and print the ballot. (Marked ballots are not saved, so you must make your selections again.) If you printed a blank ballot and marked your ballot by hand, print another ballot and mark the ballot.
You can vote in person, but you must vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will count if you do not also vote and return your mail-in ballot. Learn more about provisional voting.
You cannot vote both in person and by mail-in ballot. Voting more than once violates state law. Individuals who submit more than one ballot will be subject to investigation and possible prosecution.
Early voting will take place Oct. 26 through Nov. 2 at the Community Resources Building located at 30 Duke St. in Prince Frederick.
Regular polling center locations will not be open for the 2020 general election in Maryland. Instead of polling centers, Calvert County will have five vote centers available on Election Day. Voters may vote at any one of the vote centers they choose:
Voters are required to wear adequate face coverings and observe physical distancing.
Yes. Although the voter registration deadline has passed, the Board of Elections offers same day registration during early voting and on Election Day. If you do not have an MVA-issued license, ID card or change of address card, you may bring a current (dated in the last three months) paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other government document with your name and residential address in Maryland.
You can contact the Calvert County Board of Elections in the following ways:
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For the Maryland State Board of Elections:
The developer is Armory Square LLC. The development team has a proven, successful record in Calvert County. They are local, and they are experienced in creating economically viable, attractive commercial properties throughout Maryland.
Construction will occur after the study period is complete and following full regulatory review and approval of a commercial site plan.
Kelly Robertson-Slagle, Director, Calvert County Department of Economic Development. Additional information may be found by visiting the developers’ website, www.thearmorysquare.com or by calling 301-842-6014.
The Board of County Commissioners may not legally develop commercial land.
The prior 2010 Comprehensive Plan and current Comprehensive Plan call for economic development in all town centers. The property will be sold to encourage economic development in the Prince Frederick Town Center.
As referenced by the Calvert County Code of Public Laws § 6-104 - Contracts for sale of real property [1985, ch. 715, § 2], notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, the county may grant and convey any county interest in real property other than by formal bidding procedures if the Commissioners determine that it is in the best interest of the county to do so, provided that:
The Commissioners approved the purchase and sale agreement as presented based on the following: (1) the project will add approximately 125,000 square feet of new commercial space, (2) create 450 new jobs, (3) increase commercial tax revenue, and (4) allow for acquisition of strategically located land for the previously planned county bus transfer station.
The price was determined by taking the highest of two independent appraisals as called for by public law.
The building was in a state of disrepair and demolished in 2012.
None. The proposed multi-use development does not require any text amendments or new zoning regulations.
This project will complement other commercial projects in Prince Frederick by offering a space for multi-use development, creating foot traffic for other businesses in the Prince Frederick Town Center, and offering another location in the county to procure services instead of going outside the county to obtain similar services.
An update to the Prince Frederick Town Center Zoning Ordinance does not stop development in the Prince Frederick Town Center. Businesses can still obtain site plan approvals under current zoning regulations if they desire. Based on the anticipated size of the project, it can be developed under current regulations.
The developer will be required to conduct an independent traffic analysis for the project and make any required changes identified by that study.
The property acquired by the county will serve as a transfer station for Calvert County Public Transportation and will serve bus routes already served by Calvert County’s public transportation system.
At this time, no decision on the future of the old Armory building has been determined. The County will retain ownership.
You can see the latest information by visiting the county’s virtual resource center: https://www.calvertcountymd.gov/coronavirus. Information is also available on our official social media page, Facebook, by visiting https://www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd/
The agreement maintains a requirement that service be extended to any area that has at least 15 homes per mile. This density requirement is the lowest density approved in Maryland.
County staff worked with Comcast to identify unserved areas that do not meet density requirements. Four unserved areas have been identified as eligible for build by Comcast.
The County will continue to work with Comcast to find opportunities to make expansion into unserved areas more affordable.
While internet service is not covered in the franchise agreement, the County will also pursue options and technologies to address internet coverage in unserved areas.
While exact figures are difficult to ascertain, the percentage of county residents who do not have access to cable is approximately 1.5 percent.
1974 Pleasant Peninsula Plan: “Control Our Own Destiny”1983 Comprehensive Plan: “Maintain the Rural Character” and “Promote a Strong Economy” 1997 Comprehensive Plan: “Establish 10 Visions”2004 Comprehensive Plan: “Stay the Course”2010 Plan Amendments: “Address State Laws”
For Comprehensive Plan Questions: Jenny Plummer-Welker, AICP, Long-Range Planner Calvert County Department of Community Planning & Building 150 Main Street, Suite 300; Prince Frederick, MD 20678 410-535-1600, ext. 2333 or 301-855-1243, ext. 2333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For Zoning Ordinance Questions: Mary Beth Cook, Director Calvert County Department of Community Planning & Zoning 150 Main Street, Suite 300; Prince Frederick, MD 20678 410-535-1600, ext. 2334 or 301-855-1243, ext. 2334 Email: email@example.com
The current Comprehensive Plan update draft aims to better define town center boundaries by considering existing land use patterns, the size of the core community, the roadway network, utility extension policies, preservation priorities and environmental constraints.
New boundaries would simply include areas that naturally enhance the town centers; that is, the boundary now follows the natural parcel boundary lines. Redefining these boundaries will make future development in these locations more predictable and better identified with the associated town center. Using this method, the town centers of Solomons, Huntingtown, Lusby, Owings, Prince Frederick and St. Leonard would expand. Dunkirk Town Center is not expanding.
While the plan draft recommends expansions of some town centers, it does not automatically expand the boundaries. That can only be done through zoning amendments which involves a full public process.
The Prince Frederick Town Center is proposed to expand in two phases. The first phase, as outlined in the draft Comprehensive plan, would incorporate the areas currently zoned Employment Center, which has no assigned density and shares a border with the current town center and the area to the southeast zoned Residential. This would expand Prince Frederick Town Center by approximately 23 percent.
The proposed second phase would occur only after a future Comprehensive Plan update, Transportation Plan update, Zoning Ordinance update, and the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan update is completed. To include this phase would require formal action by the Board of County Commissioners following completion of the state-mandated Comprehensive Plan update process.
Traffic studies completed by the state of Maryland are used in the comprehensive plan process, including a Prince Frederick area study conducted in 2011 and updated in 2013. The Board of County Commissioners also directed staff to update the county’s existing transportation plan that dates to 1997. An updated transportation plan will be done before the updated zoning regulations, which will dictate future density, are adopted. The transportation plan will cover near and long-term transportation statistics and goals countywide. By contrast, traffic studies are generally limited to smaller scales – a single intersection or a town center. The updated transportation plan will be used to determine if individual traffic studies are necessary during the future updating of all seven town center master plans.
Updating the county transportation plan prior to conducting new traffic studies follows the same logic of updating the comprehensive plan (countywide goals and vision) prior to developing zoning ordinances (specific implementation actions).
On the other hand, minor town centers contain a mix of uses, with concentrations of commercial, retail and civic and/or community uses. Minor town centers have more local-serving commercial uses when compared to major town centers. The county’s minor town centers are Huntingtown, Owings and St. Leonard.
Before lifting the moratorium, a detailed audit of the TDRs already existing had to occur. This type of audit had not been conducted in the 40-year history of the program. An electronic auditing program is nearing completion, which will be used when developing recommendations to reopen the Agricultural Preservation District program for future preservation. Meanwhile, other land preservation practices have been added over the years and remain in place.
Last year, over $1 million dollars in the county Purchase and Retirement (PAR) Fund went unused by property owners for the sale of associated Transferrable Development Rights (TDRs). This year, there is approximately $3.2 million set aside in the PAR fund. These funds directly impact preservation.
The BOCC also removed some restrictions to make it easier for the holders of TDRs to sell their holdings. Property owners holding TDRs are no longer restricted to 10 TDRs per annual transaction.
-- 9 changes between 1990-2000 (2/15/94; 6/13/95; 3/12/96; 3/19/96; 4/2/96; 12/23/97; 1/20/98; 12/8/98; 4/20/99)-- 8 changes between 2000-2010 (7/3/01; 5/29/01; 10/28/03; 12/2/03; 5/18/04; 8/10/04; 5/1/06; 3/25/08)-- 5 changes between 2011-present (5/4/12; 8/5/15; 11/30/15; 4/15/16; 7/29/16)
-- “…scale TDRs to match the type of development and require perhaps one TDR for an apartment, two for a condo, three for a duplex and five for single family residences.”-- The Prince Frederick Town Center charrette report made several key recommendations, one of which was to reform the TDR program
Based on growing concerns about the TDR program, in 2015 the Department of Planning & Zoning held several joint meetings with the agricultural and development community to discuss TDRs. To make certain that all there was even representation from both the development and agricultural community, four representatives were chose from each of the communities that included: Susie Hance-Wells, Wilson Freeland, Hagner Mister and Steve Oberg (agriculture); and Randy Barrett, Rick Bailey, Rodney Gertz and Anthony Williams (development). The group’s recommendations were presented to the Board of County Commissioners in May 2015; the new regulations were adopted and became effective in November of 2015. The group’s recommendations followed the process for zoning ordinance text amendments, including agency review, public hearing, recommendation by the Planning Commission and adoption by the BOCC.
The changes were also made in order to jumpstart the sale of TDRs within the Prince Frederick Town Center, text amendments were enacted. The County’s TDR program is designed to protect and preserve the rural character of the county by directing growth in the county’s Town Centers. Text amendments were necessary for Prince Frederick to reverse the trend of residential development occurring outside of the Town Center and to encourage residential growth in the Town Center, where previously it had been minimal.
Calvert County Government is now using eMaryland Marketplace, the State of Maryland bidding website, to bring you more efficient and effective bidding and procurement opportunities. The Purchasing Office is located in the County Services Plaza, 150 Main Street, Suite 105, Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678. Please contact 410-535-1600 x2288. eMaryland Marketplace
The Board of License Commissioners, also known as the Liquor Board, provides information on how to apply, related documents and a meeting schedule.
The Department of Economic Development provides several services to support the local business community. Some include online business resources, marketing assistance, an ombudsman program and training and workshops. Call 410-535-4583 for full details. The department also works with several resource partners, such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to provide additional programs. An SBDC business counselor is co-located with our office and provides free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling. To arrange an appointment, call 410-535-4583.
The county publishes several electronic newsletters available via email.
The department administers the Calvert County Economic Development Loan Fund, an alternative funding source for Calvert County businesses. Information on other funding sources can be obtained from the Small Business Development Center. To talk with a local business counselor, call 410-535-4583 or visit www.sbdchelp.com.
The county maintains a list of its major employers.
The Ecalvert.com economic development website has a host of information about the county, including demographics, economic facts and more.
A Commerce Zone is a designated location where businesses that locate in the pre-determined zone can receive a real property tax credit. Real property tax credits are a common economic development tool used by jurisdictions across the nation. Commerce Zones also allow the county to direct development to appropriately zoned locations. In Calvert County, Patuxent Business Park is a designated Commerce Zone.
On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, the Department of Economic Development offers an array of services to the business community. Presently, the county has a variety of incentives for new and expanding business. They include business counseling services, online business resource guides, free online employment classifieds for local businesses, fast-track permitting, financing assistance, the Calvert County Incentive Fund, the Calvert County Economic Development Loan Fund, real property tax credits, a free online commercial real estate tool for local realtors – CalvertProspector.com – and tailored training programs. Additionally, new initiatives to attract business such as zoning changes to the Prince Frederick Town Center and updates to the Calvert County Incentive Fund are examples of attractive selling points for businesses looking to locate in Calvert County.
Applicants may call the Election Board office to request a Voter Registration Application or come into the office to complete one in person. They may also obtain an application from any post office or library in the county, the Social Services office, or the MVA. Persons with a valid Maryland driver’s license or identification card may register online. Applications must be received three weeks before each election. Additionally, there is a same day registration option during early voting and on election day. For more information, go to the State Board of Elections website.
No. As long as you keep your address current with your local election office, you will remain a registered voter in Maryland.
The voter registration deadline is 3 weeks before each election. New applications must be either hand-delivered, entered online, or mailed no later than 3 weeks before the election (must have valid postmark). Voters who are already registered and need to submit a change request (name, address, party, etc.) also have the option to fax the signed request to 410-535-5009. Change your voter information.
Go to the Voter Services website, or call the election office at 410-535-2214.
Lists of potential jurors are pulled from both voter registration and MVA records; therefore, anyone with a driver's license or MVA-issued Maryland ID card is eligible to be called for jury duty even if they are not registered to vote.
All voters in Calvert County may vote at the Early Voting Center at 30 Duke Street in Prince Frederick. For the 2022 election, two additional early voting sites will be added. Be on the lookout for more information. The early voting site is located in the old library, directly across the street from the post office. The voting room is on the lower level. The voting hours are 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day.
Maryland polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The optimal voting hours are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If this information is not provided at the time of registration, identification will be required before voting can proceed. However, there are residency and identification requirements for same day registration.
Maryland's top two political parties, in their bylaws, declare who can vote in their primary election. A voter who insists on voting a different party ballot will be required to complete a provisional application and ballot. Then after the election, office staff will research to determine if a request was received before the deadline or if a clerical mistake was made. If neither situation applies, the ballot will be rejected. In any event, the voter will receive credit for voting.
Note: In a General Election, parties have no bearing and all voters may vote for any candidate, regardless of political affiliation.
You may view a copy of the ballot by entering your voter data on the voter services website and then clicking the link on the next page that appears.
Yes, provided the voter signs the Designation of Agent Form which authorizes the Election Board to give their ballot to you to take to them. For the voter's protection, the ballot will not be released without the properly executed Agent Form, which is available at the election office and online. See below for the necessary steps.
1. The agent picks up or downloads a Mail In Ballot Application as well as the Designation of Agent form.
2. The agent returns the voter's application and agent form in person after the voter has signed both forms. If properly completed and signed, the ballot will then be given to the agent to hand carry to the voter.
3. The voter's ballot may be returned in person by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day or by mail, bearing a postmark on Election Day.
NO. Mail in ballots are always counted, regardless of the outcome. However, a ballot may be rejected and not counted if the voter does not sign the oath on the return envelope.
In general, campaign signs fall under the purview of Free Speech. The Calvert County Election Board has no regulatory authority over the location of campaign signs except at polling places, early voting sites and ballot drop boxes. Signs at these areas can go up after 5pm the day before the site opens and must be taken down by 8am the day after the election (§ 10-101(a)(3)(iii) of the Election Law Article ).
The State Highway Administration (SHA) prohibits any and all signs in the State's right-of-way. For more information, visit www.roads.maryland.gov or call 410-841-5450, or 800-331-5603. Calvert County's Planning and Zoning Department follows the same guidelines as SHA for placement of signs on county roads. For more information, visit their web page to view the Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 6-8.02), or call 410-535-2348. The Towns of Chesapeake Beach (410-257-2230) and North Beach (410-257-9618), should be consulted if placing signs in either municipality. A candidate should report any theft or destruction of signs to the Sheriff's Office at 410-535-2800.
View the Elected Officials here.
Registered voters may call the Election Board office to request information and an application. In most cases, election judges are assigned to work in their own precinct or as close to home as possible. Training is required, for which each judge will paid $25 along with election pay. Judges are paid a minimum of $175 for each election or early voting day worked.
Applications are accepted only for positions that are being advertised. You must submit a separate Calvert County Government Employment Application for each position you are interested in when advertised (even those with the same title). Applications are available online, by mail, or you may request one in person from the Department of Human Resources (30 Duke Street, Suite 102). All applicants must complete an application form and respond to the supplemental questions. Other supporting information may be attached. Applications must be submitted online or returned in person to the Department of Human Resources or postmarked-all by the closing date. Applications submitted by mail should be addressed to the Department of Human Resources at 175 Main Street, Prince Frederick, MD 20678. If the application is submitted electronically or by mail, we will provide acknowledgment via email or U.S. mail. If the application is returned in person, we will give you the receipt at that time.
You may telephone our office at 410-535-1600 extension 2359, fax to 410-414-5617, or use the Maryland Relay for Impaired Hearing or Speech 1-800-735-2258 Statewide Toll Free. You may email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our location is Community Resources Building, 30 Duke Street, Suite 102, Prince Frederick, MD 20678. Business hours are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.
Available positions are advertised on this website, the County's Facebook page, and on cable television (Channel 6) and occasionally other publications.
Calvert County offers senior housing for both independent seniors and for those in need of assisted living services. Costs will vary and some housing may have waiting lists. For Assisted Living information, you may call the Office on Aging at 410-535-4606 or 301-855-1170. For senior independent housing information, you may call the Housing Authority of Calvert County at 410-535-5010.
Hours are 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Appointments are required to file for disability or retirement. For general inquiries and appointments, contact their office at 1-888-866-5181. Their main office is in Suitland, at 6110 Allentown Road.
Social Security also has an office in Annapolis, at 180 Admiral Cochrane Dr. (Suite 210). You can also obtain information on their website. Social Security Administration
* In association with the Maryland State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section. ** In association with the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
This program is a partnership of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development with the Maryland Department of Aging.
Locally, the Calvert County Office on Aging and the Housing Authority of Calvert will be working with Calvert residents to enable them to make their homes more accessible through this project.
Improvements may include, but are not limited to, installation of grab bars and railings, widening of doorways, installation of ramps, accessible showers, and lever handles. Additions to accommodate first floor bathrooms and laundry rooms will be considered on a case by case basis.
The program provides 0 percent interest, deferred loans for a term of 30 years. Loans must be repaid upon sale, transfer, or refinance of the property. All closing costs will be included in the loan.
Seniors living with relatives will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Call the Calvert County Office on Aging at 410-535-4606 or 301-855-1170.
You may join a Medicare Part D Plan when you first become eligible for Medicare, during the period that starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can join three months before to three months after your 25th month of cash disability benefits.
You can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Drug Plan from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 of each year, or at any time you qualify for extra help.
You may still apply for extra help to help pay for your monthly premium, deductibles, and co-pays for medication. Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, visit their website, or call the Calvert County Office on Aging for more information or to apply.
The Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program will help pay up to $25 a month toward the cost of the monthly prescription drug premium for persons with annual income under $30,630 for a one-person household and $41,070 for a two-person household. Call this program at 800-551-5995, visit their website, or contact the Calvert County Office on Aging for an application and more information.
Call your prescription drug company to determine what medications are covered to treat your medical needs. You may request an exception from your plan for your medication and you may also appeal their decision.
For more information about the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227, visit their website, review the Medicare and You handbook, or call the Calvert County Office on Aging Senior Health Insurance Program, 410-535-4606 or 301-855-1170.
Calvert County Parks & Recreation Ordinance - Chapter 82 Calvert County Code
There are several options for registration: Online: If you are an existing household with CCPR, online registration is available to you through WEBTRAC. Phone: Call the Main Office at 410-535-1600, 2225 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. or the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center at 410-414-8350 Mondays through Friday from 6:15 am to 8:45 p.m., Saturdays from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., and Sundays from 8:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. and register over the phone with a Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit/debit card. Walk in: Walk in registration will be taken at the following locations during normal hours of operation; Mt. Hope Community Center, Northeast Community Center, Southern Community Center, the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center and the Parks and Recreation Main Office. Note: Registration for minors (under 18 years of age) requires adult authorization and input.
Yes, visitors to Calvert County recreation and nature parks can recycle their plastic, glass and aluminum bottles and cans by placing them in blue bins adjacent to trash cans at each site.
The Procurement Office advertises all solicitations on the State of Maryland’s bidding website, eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA), which is free to all vendors. Registration is not required but in order to automatically receive bid notifications by email, vendors must register with on the eMMA website.
Additionally, formal bids are also posted on https://www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd/, on the bulletin board; outside of the Procurement Office which is located on the first floor of the County Services Plaza at 150 Main Street, Prince Frederick, Maryland and advertised for two consecutive weeks in at least two local newspapers.
Once your company is registered on eMaryland Marketplace Advantage as a vendor, you automatically receive email notifications of available bids, based on commodity codes. Since all Maryland State and Local agencies utilize this service, it will broaden your opportunity to provide goods and services statewide.
Once registered as a vendor, with your specific commodity codes, eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) will email you with the link to view more detailed information on that particular bid. You will then be able to download the detailed bid package.
It is preferred that vendors contact the Procurement Office to make an appointment. This allows staff to dedicate uninterrupted time to the vendor to make their presentation.
Offline bidding refers to mailing or hand delivery of sealed formal bids directly to the Procurement Office. This is the current Calvert County Government procedure, we do not accept on-line bids.
Online bidding is an electronic filing of a bid through the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage website. The online bidding format on eMaryland Marketplace Advantage is not conducive with Calvert County Government’s sealed formal bidding document requirements.
Text-to-911 is the ability to send text messages from your mobile phone to local 911 call centers in an emergency if you are unable to place a phone call. In Maryland, residents and visitors who are enrolled in their carrier’s text and/or data plan can use text-to-911. If text-to-911 service is not available, users will receive a bounce back message telling them to place a phone or relay call.
There are many significant benefits to text-to-911, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. For example, text-to-911 is extremely useful for those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired. Text-to-911 can also help in situations when a crime is in process; the caller is facing domestic abuse; the caller is injured and cannot speak; or other scenarios.
Text-to-911 is now available statewide to all residents and visitor in Maryland. If the service is not available in a certain area, or if temporarily unavailable, users will receive a bounce back message telling them to place a phone or relay call to request emergency service. A phone call is still the preferred method for contacting 911 even when text-to-911 is available. Text-to-911 is intended for use in three primary scenarios; for individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability; for someone in a situation where it may be unsafe to place a voice call to 911; for an individual who is experiencing a medical emergency and may be unable to speak. The general rule is: call if you can, text if you can’t.
Wireless carriers will provide text-to-911 services in the format requested by local 911 call centers, e.g., through TTY, through Internet Protocol (IP), or other technologies. The carriers will provision the service based on the call centers’ requests. Text-to-911 service in Maryland is supported by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Users must be enrolled in a text and/or data plan to text 911.
Text-to-911, like all text messaging, is not without challenges. It may take longer for text messages to 911 to be received and responded to. Text messages to 911 also may be received out of order and do not include the same location information as a voice or relay call. When texting 911, it’s important to remember to include the location of the emergency in the initial message. Additionally, 911 centers cannot receive pictures or videos via text message. Messages should be short and use simple language.
Text messaging is one of the primary ways people communicate today, particularly young people, members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and those with speech disabilities. Statistics have shown that an estimated 6 billion SMS messages are sent every day in the United States. The 911 community is constantly striving to meet the evolving needs of the public, and right now that means implementing text-to-911 solutions. While text-to-911 does have some limitations and challenges, the ability to text 911 in an emergency when someone may be unable to place a phone call has the potential to save many more lives.
Follow these steps to text 911 in an emergency:
1. Enter 911 into the “To” field of a new message
2. Your first text should be short and include the location of the emergency and the type of service needed – police, fire, or ambulance
3. Press the send button
4. Answer questions from the 911 specialist and follow the instructions he or she provides
5. Text in simple words; do not use abbreviations or slang
6. Keep messages short
If your text has been received, a 911 specialist should respond to your text. If text-to-911 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message from your wireless carrier letting you know that you must place a voice or relay call to 911.
Standard text messaging rates apply.