9-1-1 has revolutionized emergency services and saved countless lives. But, let’s face it- there are certain emergency situations that preclude someone from calling 911. One could also be hearing or speech impaired or in an area with spotty cell phone coverage.
For times like these, Los Angeles County now accepts text messages to 9-1-1. This new system could literally save lives, so I thought you should be aware of it. Here are some guidelines:
- 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.