Text-to-911 refers to the ability to send text messages to local 911 call centers during an emergency. The Henderson Emergency Communications center is now equipped to receive text messages.

When should text-to-911 be used?

Call if you can, text if you must. The public should only text 911 if it is the only option and making a voice call to 911 isn’t possible. This service will be very useful to those who are non-verbal, hard of hearing, deaf, and/or speech impaired. Some other examples include: 

  • The caller is facing a threatening situation and a voice call could increase the threat.
  • The caller is injured or suffered a medical condition and cannot speak.
  • The caller is in a remote location and can only send out a text message.
  • Phone lines and cell phone towers are overwhelmed and only a text can get through. Examples include sporting and concert events, congested areas around shopping centers during the holidays, large traffic jams, rush-hour in some areas, etc.

How to text 911?

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field (do not enter with dashes like “9-1-1”)
  • The first text message to 911 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed
  • Push the send button
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instruction from the 911 call taker
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations
  • Keep text messages brief and concise
  • Once you have initiated a text-to-911 conversation, do not delete the message or turn off the phone until the dispatcher tells you it is okay.

Do all wireless providers offer this service?

Top tier 911 providers support this service, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Other cell providers rely on most major telephone carriers’ networks and should be able to send a text-to-911. You may want to check with your provider to be sure. 

Can I text 911 outside Henderson County?

Most surrounding counties to Henderson can accept text-to-911. If you text 9-1-1 for an emergency in a neighboring county, we do have the ability to transfer your text so that you may text the proper agency. Just be sure to tell us that you are in another county.

Can a caller send a video or picture through text-to-911?

No, photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.

Will the 911 Center automatically know a text caller’s location?

The call taker will typically receive the caller’s phone number and their approximate location automatically. This is called the “Enhanced 911” or “E911.” 911 texts from wireless phones are not always specific on location. For this reason, a person sending a text-to-911 must provide an accurate location as quickly as possible. 

Can text-to-911 support messages in a foreign language?

Text-to-911 does not have foreign language translation capability. A text-to-911 written in a foreign language will receive a message indicating that the caller must make a voice call to 911 so that language interpretation services can be added to the call to assist with translation. If the caller is unable to dial 911 for whatever reason, the call taker will try their best to get the help needed to the proper location.

How quickly will text messages be delivered and received from E911?

Text-to-911 messages pass through multiple public and private networks, so the user’s experience with delivery speed and text response will be similar to non-emergency text messages.