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Text to 911 Emergency SMS Communication

Published: 2022-10-18
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Disability Communication Publications

Synopsis: Text-to-911 enables emergency call takers to receive text messages if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired.

Text-to-911 is a service available to you in parts of the United States and Canada if you are part of the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or speech impaired (DHHSI) community. Text-to-911 is a technology that enables emergency call takers to receive text messages. It can also be used when it is too dangerous to call.

NOTE: Text-to-911 is only currently available in certain locations. Voice calls to 911 provide more information to 911 call centers; you should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.

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Definition

Text to 911

Text to 911 is the ability to send text messages from a U.S. phone number to local 911 call centers. Only use Text to 911 if making a voice call to 911 is unsafe or not possible. This service is especially beneficial to those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired. Other examples of when Text to 911 would be helpful include: phone lines and cell phone towers are overwhelmed, and only texts can get through, the caller cannot speak due to a threat, illness, or medical condition, the caller has poor reception and can only send out a text message.

Main Digest

Text-to-911 is a service available to you in parts of the United States and Canada if you are part of the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or speech impaired (DHHSI) community. Text-to-911 is a technology that enables emergency call takers to receive text messages. It can also be used when it is too dangerous to call.

NOTE: Text-to-911 is only currently available in certain locations. Voice calls to 911 provide more information to 911 call centers; you should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.

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Text-to-911 is free, works through short message service (SMS) with cellular carriers, and requires a text or data plan. If you use a wireless phone or another type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

How to Text to 911

Text 911 if you need EMERGENCY police, fire, or medical aid AND you are Deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled OR you cannot speak due to a medical emergency OR when a voice call might endanger your life or escalate the situation.

If you attempt to send a text to 911 where the service is not yet available, FCC rules require all wireless carriers and other text messaging providers to send an automatic "bounce-back" message that will advise you to contact emergency services by another means, such as making a voice call or using telecommunications relay service. Bounce-back messages minimize your risk of mistakenly believing that a text to 911 has been transmitted to an emergency call center when it has not.

To learn more about FCC programs to promote access to telecommunications services for people with disabilities including a registry of areas supporting text-to-911, visit the U.S. FCC's Disability Rights Office website.

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Disabled World is an independent disability community established in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative news, reviews, sports, stories and how-tos. You can also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, October 18). Text to 911 Emergency SMS Communication. Disabled World. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/communication/text-to-911.php

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