Text-to-911: What You Need To Know
Text-to-911 is now available in limited Missouri counties. Please check the attached map to see which counties currently have an active Text-to-911 system.
Even in areas where call centers accept text-to-911, existing voice-based 911 service is still the most reliable and preferred method of contact.
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. However, because voice calls to 911 provide more information to 911 call centers, you should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency whenever possible.
HOW TO CONTACT 911
If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:
Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and text-to-911 is not available, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU SEND A TEXT TO 911
A dispatcher will reply to you by text. Be sure to silence your ringtone if staying quiet is important to your safety. If your text to 911 fails to go through, you will receive a bounce-back message saying the service is not available and instructing you to make a voice call to 911.
9-1-1 call centers cannot identify your exact location when you send a text to 911.
Text-to-911 is only currently available in certain locations. The FCC and Missouri 911 Service Board encourages emergency call centers to begin accepting texts, but it is up to each call center to decide the particular method in which to implement and deploy text-to-911 technology.
The Missouri 911 Service Board is committed to full implementation of Text-to-911 statewide and will continue working closely with all stakeholders to actualize this effort.
Carriers treat texts to 9-1-1 like any other text message. Until the Federal Communications Commission sets specific guidelines, texts to 911 will not receive priority on wireless networks. Emergency texts will also experience the same service speeds and delays as other text messages.
If you attempt to send a text to 911 where the service is not yet available, FCC rules require all wireless carriers and other text messaging providers to send an automatic "bounce-back" message that will advise you to contact emergency services by another means, such as making a voice call or using telecommunications relay service. Bounce-back messages are intended to minimize your risk of mistakenly believing that a text to 911 has been transmitted to an emergency call center when it has not.
WHICH SERVICE PROVIDERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SUPPORT TEXT-TO-911?
The FCC's text-to-911 rules do not apply to text messaging applications that do not support texting to and from U.S. phone numbers.
Text messaging apps that only support texting with other app users or texting via social media are not required to support text-to-911.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about FCC programs to promote access to telecommunications services for people with disabilities, visit the FCC's Disability Rights Office website at www.fcc.gov/disability