Text to 9-1-1

Text-to-9-1-1 Service

As part of a statewide initiative, text-to-9-1-1 service is now available throughout the ten-county metropolitan area wherever the caller has wireless telephone service.  Text-to-9-1-1 is not recommended unless it is unsafe for the caller to make a voice call to 9-1-1, or if the caller is Deaf or hard of hearing.  Whether someone calls or texts 9-1-1, the following questions must be answered:

 

  • Where is the emergency?
  • What is the nature of the emergency?

 

Call if you can, text if you can’t.

Image 911 call if you can text if you can't

When should text-to-9-1-1 be used? 

  • The caller cannot speak while a crime is in progress.
  • The caller must remain quiet to stay safe.
  • If speaking may cause harm, such as in a home invasion, domestic violence, or human trafficking situation.
  • If the caller encounters a suicidal or agitated person where making a voice call could upset the person.
  • If peer pressure is strong.
  • If the caller is Deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or has a speech impairment.

 How to text 9-1-1

  • Enter the numbers 9-1-1 in the “To” field.
  • Text message should include your location and type of emergency.
  • Send the message.
  • Be ready to answer questions and follow instructions.
  • Use simple words.
  • Do not use abbreviations, emojis, pictures or slang (BRB, IDK, THX, 2day and BTW, for example).
  • Do not text and drive.

Text-to-9-1-1 challenges and limitations

  • It takes more time to send a text message than it does to verbally tell the 9-1-1 telecommunicator the information needed, which delays the emergency response.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 messages are not given priority by wireless carrier networks and are treated just like any other text message. There is no guarantee that a text-to-9-1-1 message will be delivered or how quickly it will be delivered.
  • Location information is not as accurate with a text as it can be with a voice call.
  • If customers are outside of Minnesota or along a neighboring state border, texts-to-9-1-1 may not be received by a 9-1-1 telecommunicator.
  • Texts-to-9-1-1 will get a bounce-back message saying text service to 9-1-1 is not available if a caller is roaming on another carrier’s network.
  • Wireless customers must have mobile phones that can send text messages.
  • Usual charges will apply to texts made to 9-1-1.
  • Texts-to-9-1-1 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 messages may get out of order before they are received by 9-1-1.
  • There is currently no language translation service for text-to-9-1-1 messages.

 

Remember . . . Call if you can, text if you can’t

Image 911 call if you can text if you can't