Text-to-911

Texting 911 can be a safe and reliable way to get help during an emergency if you can’t call 911. 

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Policy Topics

America’s wireless carriers support text-to-911 today, and more emergency call centers are able to receive text messages every day. 

If you can call 911 in an emergency, you should. But in certain situations, talking to a 911 call-taker may not be safe or possible. Text-to-911 has helped save lives across the U.S., and if your local call center doesn’t support this service, you can encourage them to do so. 
 
In some emergencies, calling 911 may not be possible or safe. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, making a 911 call can present challenges. That’s why the wireless industry worked with the accessibility community and the public safety professionals to develop text-to-911. This provides consumers with an accessible and discreet way to contact emergency services. 

Since 2015, all U.S. wireless carriers support text-to-911 services. Messaging services offered by your wireless carrier support text-to-911 services, but some over-the-top messaging applications, like WhatsApp, may not support text-to- 911.

Local 911 call centers can choose whether to accept text messages. If your local 911 call center doesn’t support text, a text message will bounce back to instruct you to call 911. Check this list to see if your local 911 call center has chosen to receive text messages. If your local 911 call center isn’t listed, you can encourage your local 911 call center to support Text-to-911.

Text-to-911 has already helped save lives across the United States, such as in California (example one and two), Colorado, Indiana and Pennsylvania
 
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