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Frequently Asked Questions
Introducing Text to 9-1-1
In Harris and Fort Bend Counties


Voice calls are still the best and fasted way to contact 9-1-1


Text to 9-1-1 is ONLY recommended when a voice call
is NOT possible

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About the Service

What is “text to 9-1-1” technology?
Can I text to 9-1-1?
What if I am outside of Harris and Fort Bend Counties?
When should I text 9-1-1?

"What are the challenges with text-to-9-1-1 service?


Text-to-9-1-1 Tips

What information should I text to 9-1-1?
How do I text to 9-1-1?
How will I know if 9-1-1 received my text?
Is there a charge when to text-to-9-1-1?
Can I send pictures or videos to 9-1-1?
Can I send a text to another person the same time as 9-1-1?
What is “text to 9-1-1” technology?
Text to 9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from a cell mobile phone or handheld device.
Can I text to 9-1-1?
Wireless customers of ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon can text to 9-1-1 in Harris and Fort Bend Counties.
You must have a device that can send text messages.
If text to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating that text 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
Text 9-1-1 ONLY when it is not safe to place a voice 9-1-1 call.
  1. For an individual who is deaf or hard-of-hearing or for someone who is in a situation where they cannot talk.
  2. A  medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech,
ONLY text 9-1-1 in an emergency. It is a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report. Prank texters can be located.
What are the challenges with text-to-9-1-1 service?
What are the challenges with text-to-9-1-1 service?
The same texting issues that occur today may occur with text to 9-1-1.
As with all text messages, messages to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
9-1-1 call takers will not be able to hear any background noise that could help with assisting during the emergency.
Voice calls are real-time communication and text to 9-1-1 is not.
Voice calls will still be the fastest and best way to reach 9-1-1.
Text-to-9-1-1 Tips
Text your exact location and what emergency help is needed.
Text in small words. Don’t use abbreviations or slang.
How do I text to 9-1-1?
Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field;
The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include the address, and ask for police, fire or ambulance.
Push the “Send” button.
Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
Text in simple words – no abbreviations or slang.
Keep text messages short.
A 9-1-1 call center should respond to the text.
If a text to 9-1-1 message does NOT go through, you should receive a bounce back message from the wireless carrier stating that text to 9-1-1 is not available.
If you get a bounce-back text, you must place a voice or relay call to 9-1-1.
Texting to 9-1-1 costs the same as the text charges you pay on all messages.
Not at this time.
No. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
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