How to Text 911 in an Emergency


An Alternative Way to Get Help

Did you know that some states now allow the public to text 911 in any emergency situation, instead of calling? If you cannot speak on the phone because of background noise, disability, or a dangerous situation that requires silence, you can now text 911 to request whatever assistance you need. Dialing 911 is still a great option for many situations. But the addition of a text option can improve safety and help you get important information across in a fraction of the time it might take to communicate via phone in noisy environments.


Want to know if the area where you live has text-to-911 available? The FCC has a master registry here. You can also inquire with your wireless phone company to see whether text-to-911 is available in your area.

Steps to Text 911 For Assistance

  1. Enter 911 in the number field when you are drafting a new message
  2. For your message, get straight to the point and express what emergency you are facing. Make sure you include the following:
    • A one sentence summary of what happened
    • Location
    • Physical condition/needs
    • If the situation is still dangerous
  3. Send the message and answer any follow up questions from the operator if you can.
  4. If someone needs help quickly and you don’t have time to wait for help to arrive, ask them for specific advice such as CPR or safety practices. 

Why Use Text-to-911?

Why would you need to text law enforcement, the fire department, or emergency services as opposed to calling them? Consider the following situations:


  1. Emergency situations where you cannot talk or cannot easily be heard
  2. Emergency situations where cell reception is bad and you cannot complete a phone call
  3. If you are deaf or have difficulty hearing. 

All of this can potentially save your life or save someone’s life. If your area does not have access to texting 911, consider that you can also use SMS texting to set up ways you can send out critical alerts.  

Check out our other blogs for more advice on specific industries and use cases.


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