Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”  For most people, sending a text to 9-1-1 will not replace making a call.  Texting should only be used when you are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1.

How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed;
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

Below are a few things to know if you need to text 911:

  • Text location information is not equal to current location technology.
  • As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a TEXT-to-911 conversation
  • If text-to-911 is not available, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that TEXT-to-911 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • TEXT-to-911 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  • TEXT-to-911 is for emergencies. The same rules and laws apply for texting 911 as they do for calling 911.
  • Do not text and drive!


What is TEXT-to-911?

Is it better to send a text message or make a voice call?

How do I send a text message to 911?

Is there a cost?

Who is going to answer my text message?

Will a text message to 911 get me help faster?

What phone carriers have systems where texting to 911 works?

Will my text go through if I don’t have 3G or 4G service? Do I need WiFi?

Can I send a group text message, like to both 911 and to my friends, so they’ll know that I need help too?

Will you be able to respond to text messages in languages other than English?

Can I text you a picture or video of what’s happening around me?

What happens if my text message doesn’t go through?

What happens if I’m texting from my car and we travel outside of Wood County?

How long will it take for my text message to go through?

I sent you a text message five minutes ago. Why haven’t I heard back from 911 yet?

Ugh! Why isn’t my text message going through?