When should I use Text to 911?
Only text 911 in an emergency. It’s important to be aware that voice communication with 911 services is still the best option when available. Text to 911 should be utilized only when voice communication cannot be established or presents a significant safety risk. It is also especially useful to members of the community who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. The following are some examples of when Text to 911 may be a better option:
- If you are in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 911.
- If you are experiencing a medical emergency that renders you incapable of speaking.
- If you are unable to call 911 due to being in a remote location with limited voice network availability.
- Often times, due to differences in network communications technologies, it is still possible to send/ receive text messages when voice communication is unavailable.
- If you are unable to speak due to injury or physical restraint.
How do I use Text to 911?
- When initiating the emergency call, do not use dashes when entering 911 into the “To” field.
- Be brief with your initial contact. Provide the location and nature of your emergency and wait to be prompted for further information and/or instructions.
- As with voice calls, be prepared to answer follow-up questions from emergency dispatchers as they will ask questions in order to provide the appropriate emergency response.
- Use simple words and avoid unclear or uncommon abbreviations.
If you need to use Text to 911, be aware of the following:
- Do Not attempt to send videos or photos with your texts. Limit your messaging to text only.
- Once the texting session is initiated, do not exit the conversation until the 911 operator has told you to do so.
- This service is currently only available for texting in the English language.
- Be as specific as possible when providing your location. Provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Exact address to include unit/apartment number and city
- Business name
- The names of both streets at the nearest intersection