Text to 9-1-1 Launch “Call if You Can. Text If You Can’t.”
Communications centers across Pima County have now integrated texting into its 9-1-1 answering system, allowing residents in need of emergency services to reach a dispatcher via text when calling is not an option.
Traditional 9-1-1 voice calls are still preferred since they are the most effective way for dispatchers to gather information and field emergency calls.
Text to 9-1-1 helps those who are unable to speak due to an emergency, or for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled.
Here’s how it works:
If a citizen needs help but is unable to speak, or they cannot do so safely they can text 9-1-1 using their mobile phone.
- To initiate a text to 9-1-1, all you have to do is enter 911 in the “To” field and enter the location and nature of the emergency in the text field.
- It is important to know the limitations to the system, such as: • KNOW AND PROVIDE YOUR LOCATION!
The most important piece of information is to provide your location, followed by what is happening.
- You can’t text 9-1-1 with a 9-1-1 only phone.
- A text from an internet messaging program will not work for 9-1-1.
- The preferred language for text is English due to limited translation services.
On behalf of the PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Point) throughout Pima County, we are proud to be able to provide this service to our community
Text to 9-1-1 Frequently Asked Questions
Always Contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, if you can.
Text to 9-1-1 provides the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1- from any enabled mobile device. The same 9-1-1 professionals that process voice calls, will assist with 9-1-1 text sessions.
Why is it better to make a 9-1-1 voice call?
- Complete location information is not provided to Emergency Call Centers when texting
- Text is not available if you are roaming
- Data plan is required to text
- Text message delivery may be affected by data network speeds
- Do not text and drive
Who should text in an emergency?
Anyone can text 9-1-1, however this service is most beneficial for:
- Those with disabilities requiring alternative means of communications that include the deaf, and hearing or speech impaired
- Dangerous situations that require the caller to remain silent or discreet
- Medical emergencies when speech has been impaired
Where is text to 9-1-1 available?
This service is being implemented throughout Arizona and is now available in Pima County.
For information about coverage outside of Pima County you may visit: https://az911.gov/text-9-1-1/text-9-1-1-implementation-map
How do I reach 9-1-1 via text during an emergency?
- Open a new text message on your mobile device
- Input 911 as the recipient
- Begin your text conversation with the location of the emergency and “send”