Text to 911 Only in an Emergency and When a Voice Call Is Not an Option
In a situation where making a call could be dangerous such as a home invasion or an abusive partner
For individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability
If you are in an area where cell service is poor and the signal is not strong enough for a voice call
Provide your exact location (the dispatcher may not be able to determine the cell phone location)
Provide information about the nature of the emergency (the dispatcher will need to convey this information to the Police, Fire Department, or Emergency Medical services)
Use full words and keep messages brief (avoid text abbreviations or lingo such as IDK, 2day or BTW)
How to Text to 911
Enter the numbers "911" in the "to" field, do not include any other numbers in the "to" field as the cell provider's system does not support sending multiple messages when texting 911
Type a brief message and include the location and type of help needed
Send the message
Do not delete the message or turn off your phone
Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker
Text to 911 is not available if you are roaming.
Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time. If you accidentally send a text to 911, be sure to follow it up with another text or voice call to let the dispatcher know it was an accident and that there is no emergency.
Wireless customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages.
If texting to 911 doesn't work in the area you are in, you should receive a bounce-back message that states: Please make a voice call to 911. There is no text service to 911 available at this time.
Sending a text to 911 may take longer than a voice call because someone must enter the text, send it through the system, and then the 911 dispatcher has to enter a text response and send it back.