Text to 911

Most Los Angeles County dispatch centers are now equipped to receive and respond to mobile phone SMS Text to 9-1-1 messages.  This service is available for use by the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired, and in situations where it is too dangerous to make a voice call to 9-1-1.

Below are the FCC guidelines for how to contact 9-1-1.  If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

  • If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”
  • If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech disabled, and Text to 9-1-1 is not available, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.
  • If you text 9-1-1 and text is not available in your area, you will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”
  • Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon.  Be prepared to give your location.
  • Text to 9-1-1 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1.  They cannot be received at the 9-1-1 center at this time.
  • Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain popular abbreviations (SMH, LOL, ICYMI) or emojis, which will not be recognized.
  • Text to 9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person.  Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.

Texts must be in English only.  There currently is no language interpretation for text available.  This is still in development.