WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. However, because voice calls to 911 provide more information to 911 call centers, you should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.
Hearing and speech impaired individuals benefit from Text-to-911, as do those who may find themselves in a situation where they cannot make a voice call, such as a home invasion or domestic abuse situation.
Texting can be difficult because it takes time and effort to send the information and wait for a response. Keep text messages brief and concise; use full words, and do not send photo or video. Know your location and emergency type (police, fire, or medical).
If you accidently text 911 please send a reply indicating there is no emergency and stay on the phone to answer any additional information to confirm 911 is not needed.
WHEN TO TEXT 911
When there is an emergency AND:
- You are unable to speak due to an emergency situation such as a home invasion or domestic/abusive situation
- You are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability
- You are having a medical emergency and cannot speak on the phone
- You are in an area with poor cell coverage, where voice may not connect but a text can be sent
IMPORTANT: If you are using Text-to-911 because you are trying to not be heard, remember to silence your phone. Do not text and drive!
HOW TO TEXT-TO-911
- Open the text message program on your cell
- Create a new message
- Enter "911" in the "To" field
- Type a message with the exact location of the emergency (including city) and they type of help needed (police, fire or medical)
- Press "Send" button
- Stay with your phone, be prepared to answer questions and follow direction from 911
- Be aware of auto correct, especially when providing location
Remember to ALWAYS call if you can, texting can take valuable time that could make a difference.
WHEN NOT TO CALL OR TEXT 911
- When there is no emergency.
- If an animal is hurt or lost (Call your city or county animal services instead).
- As a joke or prank.
- To report that electricity or other utilities are off.
- To report traffic jams.
- To ask about government services or general information.
- Most importantly, remember to CALL IF YOU CAN AND TEXT ONLY WHEN YOU CAN'T CALL. Providing essential information to a 9-1-1 telecommunicator is much faster by voice than text because texting is not always instantaneous.