• Cobb non-profit promotes 'Text First. Talk Second' campaign during emergencies


    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - During the Boston Marathon bombings, phone lines jammed but Cobb County's Safe America organization has a simple, potentially life-saving solution.

    Safe America's research shows that one, one-minute phone call takes as much space as 800 short texts.

    When the bombs went off at the finish line, Tifton's Michael Beeman was still running the race. He spoke to Channel 2 Action News via Face Time.

    "You knew there was a sense of tragedy because everyone was on their cellphones and the tears and stuff like that," Beeman said.

    Beeman said he kept running because his 16-year-old daughter, Melanie, was at the finish line and he couldn't reach her.

    "Cellphone usage was nonexistent, so I tried to use people's cellphones but I couldn't get ahold of her. I cried my eyes out because that was my daughter," Beeman said.

    "They reach for the phone, try to call loved one, they can't get through. The phone lines are overwhelmed and they begin to panic. Is their loved one safe?" said Mary Lou Pagano of the Safe America Foundation.

    Now Safe America is encouraging people to keep its campaign mission "Text First. Talk Second" in mind during emergencies.

    "Text First. Talk Second. We want every American citizen to be able to reach their family in an emergency," Pagano said of the campaign launched in 2010.

    Sending a short message like, 'R u ok?' and 'I'm ok' can save valuable cell space, Safe America officials told Channel 2's John Bachman.

    "Leave those phone lines open for first responders and real emergency calls to go through," Pagano said.

    Safe America says the text-first practice is important for natural disasters, too.

    Click here for more information.

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