Text-to-911 Tips

How to Text to 9-1-1

  • Texting to 9-1-1 is no different than sending a normal text message.
  • Simply enter “911” in the “To” field, compose your message, and then press send.
  • If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, you will receive a bounce-back message requesting that you please call 9-1-1 for help.

Tips When Texting to 9-1-1

  • Don’t text and drive.
  • Text-to-911 cannot include more than one person.
  • In your first text message send the location and type of emergency.
  • Text in simple words and a short message.  Do not use abbreviations or slang.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Silence the ringtone on your phone if the noise may compromise your safety.  If you stop responding to text messages from the 9-1-1 center, the dispatcher may need to call to check on your safety.
  • Text-to-911 service is not available everywhere and is subject to the limitations and challenges as all wireless calls.  If you are texting to 9-1-1 in an area where text-to-911 is not available, you will receive a ‘bounce-back’ message telling you to make a voice call.
  • If it is unsafe to call 9-1-1, then text 911.  Remember that texting can slow down response time to your emergency. Keep in mind that calling 9-1-1 is the best way to get emergency help quickly.

Please Note: You must have a texting plan with your service provider in order to text to 9-1-1.

Things to Remember

  • 9-1-1 must know your exact location.  Use street signs, mile markers cross roads, and land marks.
  • Use simple language. Do not use abbreviations or slang.
  • Just like with other text messages, delays are possible. Call when you can, text when you can’t.
  • You cannot send videos or photos at this time.