The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require all wireless carriers and other providers to text messaging applications in the United States to deliver emergency texts to call centers that request them. If a call center requests text-to-911 service, text messaging providers must deliver the service within six months.
In the event of an emergency, if you can voice call 911, you should. By calling, dispatchers can gather more information, listen for distress in a caller’s voice, and gather background information – all important information for first responders when going to an emergency. In addition, texting may be subject to cell signal availability. Text-to-911 should only be used for the following:
- If you need help, but cannot safely speak on the phone or are unable to speak. (Examples include: abduction, domestic violence or active shooter situation.)
- If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and there is no TTY available.