Depending on your location, you may be able to text 911 in an emergency instead of calling.
You can check with your local public safety officials to learn if the local 911 center is prepared to accept text-to-911 messages. Public information lines, such as 211 or 311, may also have more information on text-to-911 service availability. And the FCC’s website maintains some information at www.fcc.gov/text-to-911
Some important things to know about text-to-911
Voice calls remain the best way to contact 911, as a phone conversation allows an emergency dispatcher to quickly gather important facts about your situation, such as your location, and talk you through any necessary steps.
Texting, on the other hand, is not always instantaneous and therefore it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services. Texts must first be typed and sent by the person requesting emergency services and then read by the dispatcher, who will then need to reply via text.
Other things to keep in mind about text-to-911 service:
- If a text is sent to a dispatch center that is not equipped for text-to-911, you will receive an auto reply instructing you to call the 911 center.
- Text-to-911 requires the use of text messaging service provided by Verizon Wireless. Other messaging apps may not support text-to-911.
- The character limit for all text messages is 160.
- Make sure to include the nature of your emergency in your message and be as clear and concise as possible. Do not use slang or abbreviations.
- Always provide your location, as your location can only be approximated through a text.
- You need to be in range of Verizon Wireless cell towers to send a text.
- Do not attach pictures, video, other attachments or other recipients to the message.
- Text-to-911 is for emergency use only.