“Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

East Bay Area residents have the option of sending text messages to 911. Alameda County Regional Emergency Communications Center joined many other agencies in the region in allowing the text message option for those who are deaf, hearing or speech impaired or are in situations where it may be too dangerous to make a voice call to 911.

You should only use text-to-911 as a last resort — “call if you can, text if you can’t.”

Important Facts

Text-to-911 Facts

  • Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. You should include your location or street address in your text, including what city you’re in.
  • No language interpretation currently exists.
  • Text messages can take longer to send or receive.
  • Text-to-911 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.
  • PSAPs (public safety answering points) in California are not receiving pictures or video (multimedia) at this time.
  • If text-to-911 is not available or the message cannot be delivered, the texting party will receive a bounce-back message advising them to dial 911.
  • Text to 911 is not available if you are roaming.
  • Do not send acronyms, short code messages and no Emoji’s.
  • In order to text-to-911, you must have a current data plan.
  • Text-to-911 cannot be sent as a group message.
  • Standard text messaging rates apply.

The primarily intent for Text-to-911 is for three emergency scenarios:

  • For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability;
  • For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 911;
  • For a medical emergency that renders a person incapable of speech.