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Text-to-911 is NOT a method of convenience. The service is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak or hear in an emergency. A voice call is still the preferred and most efficient method for contacting 911. Simply stated, call if you can, text if you can't.

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.

How to send a text to 911

  1. Open you mobile phone's text messaging program.tt9
  2. Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field.
  3. Type a message with the location of the emergency (including city) and the nature of the emergency (what is happened and whether you need police, fire, or medical aid).
  4. Press the "Send" button or arrow.

Be sure to keep your phone with you and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker. If you are trying not to be overheard requesting help, remember to silence your phone!

Things to remember

  • Keep text messages brief.
  • Do NOT send photos or videos, or use group texts, abbreviations, or emojis.
  • Text-to-911 is only available in English.
  • Photos and videos cannot be received at this time.
  • Bayside Communications Center does not control text delivery from mobile carriers or devices.
  • There may be instances when a voice call cannot connect due to poor cellular signal or other phone service interruptions, but a text message can still go through.
  • A text sent to 911 in an area without Text-to-911 service should receive an automatic reply stating the service is not available.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. In order to use Text-to-911, the mobile device you are texting from requires a mobile phone number with a wireless carrier that will allow the device to send and receive text messages.

Yes. Text-to-911 location information is not equal to current voice call location technology. In order to get help, you need to provide the exact location.

Similar to 9-1-1 calls, texts to 9-1-1 are routed to the Bayside Communications Center (BCC) public safety answering point (PSAP). BCC is operated on a 24-hour basis, receiving 9-1-1 call and texts and dispatch emergency response services.

If you accidentally send a message to 9-1-1, send a reply indicating that you are ok. We may still respond to your location.

If Text-to-911 is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating this. If you do not receive any replies from 9-1-1, try to contact 9-1-1 another way.

Available in all 7 North Shore communities. However, if you are adjacent to a community outside of the North Shore, the location of the cell tower determines availability of the service.

No. Messages sent to 9-1-1 cannot include other people. If you include 9-1-1 on a group text, it may not be received.

No. Please be as descriptive as possible.

No. At this time, 9-1-1 can only receive text messages in English.

No. Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.

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