Text to 9-1-1 is a tool to send a text message to reach 9-1-1 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. This service is aimed to assist people who are hearing impaired, speech disabled, or someone who is in an emergency situation where calling 9-1-1 is not possible. Calling 9-1-1 should be your first option, but if you can’t, you can now text 9-1-1 for public safety services in Orange County.
Orange County launched Text to 9-1-1 in February 2019. The system has been implemented jointly in every public safety agency in the County. If for any reason you text 9-1-1 and it can’t be delivered, the texting party will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available, please make a voice call.”
When texting 9-1-1, begin by texting your location and the type of services you need (law, fire, or medical.) It’s important that you know your location or know the city you’re in and can describe your exact location to the dispatcher. Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Also, messages should be sent in plain language. Do not use acronyms, short code messages or emojis.
You must have a data plan to use Text to 9-1-1. Currently, language translation services are not available through the system, and dispatchers cannot receive photos, videos, or texts sent to a group.
Always call 9-1-1 if you can, text if you can’t.
Here a few things you may not know…
- Finding your location from the location of your phone is more difficult when texting- know where you are and text the address or a description.
- Dispatchers can’t receive photos, videos or emojis when you’re texting 9-1-1.
- If you include 9-1-1 on a group text, it will not go through to dispatchers.
- It’s a crime to text 9-1-1 with a false report.