Text-to-911 is available for those who cannot safely place a voice call to 911 in an emergency such as a home invasion, or for those individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability.
Customers unsure whether their carrier offers the ability to text to 911 should contact the carrier directly. Do not send “test” messages to 911
Spokane Regional Emergency Communications does not have control over text delivery from the carriers or cellular devices. Text-to-911 is designed for Short Message Service (SMS) texting, but continues to evolve quickly. Dialing 911 in an emergency is still the preferred and most efficient way to request help.
How to Text 911
Open your phone’s text messaging program
Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field (no dashes)
Type a message with the location of the emergency (including city) and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire, or medical)
Push the “Send” button
Stay with your phone, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker
Do not send “test” messages to 911
Text-to-911 service is not yet available statewide. If you send a text to 911 from a wireless carrier or a city/county without Text-to-911 service, you should receive a message from your cellular provider saying that there is not text-to-911 service available at this time.
Spokane Regional Emergency Communications is live with Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. Carriers that use the Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint networks (for example Virgin Mobile) may also deliver text messages to 911. If you are unsure whether your carrier offers text-to-911, please contact the carrier directly.
Tips for Texting 911
911 texting will not work while roaming
A text / data plan is required
Sending a text to 911 will take longer than a voice call. Time is critical in a life-threatening emergency, and customers should be aware of this difference
Just like regular text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received at all
Location information with a text is not equal to calling 911 at this time
Non-English translation is not available
Group texts, photos and video cannot be sent to 911
Do not text and drive
Text only for emergencies not for convenience
Your first message should be the location of the emergency and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire, or medical)
Text in simple words - do not use abbreviations or emoticons
Keep your text messages brief and concise
Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions
Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time