Emergency Situation's Help Number | USA | 911
How do you text 911? Everything you need to know about sending an emergency text.
In an emergency situation but unable to call? Try text instead. That’s right, you might be able to instant message 911 personnel in your area about your emergency.
The 911 number, since the 1960s has been the established nationwide code used to summon an emergency response. Its designation was made for the purpose of bettering these responses by giving people an easy-to-remember, universal three digit code. But, can that code make the transition to the digital era? It depends where you live.
The ability to text 911 exists in some places, but this varies county to county, so there’s no guarantee that your text will be received. It’s best to call when you can. Here’s everything you need to know.
Can you text 911?
The short answer is yes. The Federal Communications Commission has encouraged 911 call centers to begin accepting wireless messages. However, the decision is up to the individual centers and not all have opted in yet.
A spreadsheet detailing all the counties nationwide in which texting 911 is available can be found here.
Emergency response tips for your iPhone: New ways to quickly call 911 on your phone along with the best safety apps
What happens if you text 911?
If your emergency call center has opted into texting you will be able to communicate with dispatchers the same way you would if you called them. You can text 911 on an iPhone or any other wireless mobile device.
The Federal Communications Commission requires that all wireless carriers deliver texts to call centers that have requested them. If the service is requested the provider has to accommodate it within 6 months.
Other emergency response numbers to text:911, 112 and other international emergency numbers to know before traveling abroad
Can you call 911 without service?
According to the FCC, if you do not have a contract with a service provider your wireless device will still be able to call 911. However, it is important to know that in the event you get disconnected you call the dispatch center back as they will not have access to your phone number.