Text to 911 Emergency SMS Communication

Ian C. Langtree Content Writer/Editor for Disabled World
Published: 2022/10/18
Contents: Summary - Definition - Introduction - Main - Related

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.

Main Digest

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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Cite This Page (APA): Langtree, I. C. (2022, October 18). Text to 911 Emergency SMS Communication. Disabled World. Retrieved June 24, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/communication/text-to-911.php

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