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Text-to-911 is a ​service that allows the public to send a text message to 911. It is currently available in all Pennsylvania counties except for Schuylkill County.

Just as in a voice call, the 911 telecommunicator will continue to ask more questions about your emergency – confirming your location, the people involved, and any other details that are important to responders.

Typing questions and answers back and forth with a 911 telecommunicator takes a considerable amount of time, so please be patient and be as clear and concise as possible with your answers. For this reason, a voice call is preferred.

Text-to-911 may be most helpful in these emergency situations:

  • By individuals who have speech or hearing impairments, or who are having a medical emergency that renders them incapable of speech.
  • Instances when making noise may endanger the caller, such as a home invasion/robbery, or instances of domestic violence or an abduction.

How to Send A Message

Step 1:  Create a new text message or conversation.

Step 2:  Type 911 in the "To" or "Recipient" field.

Step 3:  Describe your location: Include the address and municipality (township or borough).

Step 4:  Describe the situation: Include what type of emergency help is needed.

Step 5:  Send the text message.

Important Notes

Text-to-911 is an important tool to enhance communications with the public in an emergency, but it has many limitations. It's important to keep these things in mind:

  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911.
  • Text-to-911 conversations cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
  • Do not use abbreviations or emojis.
  • Voice calls are real-time communication and Text-to-911 is not. As with all text messages, text messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • 911 call takers will not be able to hear any background noise that could help with assisting during the emergency.
  • Location information will be limited to the cell tower that your cell phone is communicating through. A 911 telecommunicator won't automatically know where you are.