Maryland Launches Statewide Text to 9-1-1
Beginning Thursday, August 20, 2020, 9-1-1 call centers across Maryland will begin accepting text messages via text-to-911 service. Customers of the three major wireless Carriers (AT&T, Former Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) who are enrolled in their carriers’ text messaging and/or data plan can send text messages to 9-1-1 in an emergency when they are unable to place a phone call.
Q: What is text-to-911 and who should you use it?
A: Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message from your mobile phone to 911 in the event you are unable to place a phone call.
Q: What are the challenges with text-to-911 service?
- For individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have a speech disability
- For someone who is in a situation where it is unsafe to place a voice call to 911
- For an individual who is experiencing a medical emergency and may be unable to speak
A: As with all text messages, texts to 911 may take longer to receive and respond than a voice call. Texts also do not provide the location of the texter and could be received out of order or may not be received at all. Additional challenges include:
TEXT-TO-911 TIPSQ: How do I text 911?
- Pictures and/or videos cannot be received by 911 via text
- If you include another contact on your text to 911 it may not be received by 911. The preferred text language for texting 911 is English, however some limited translation services may be available
A: Follow these steps to text 911 in an emergency:
- Enter "911" into the "to" field of a new message
- Your first text should be short and include the location of the emergency and the type of service needed -- police, fire or ambulance
- Press the send button
- Answer questions from the 911 specialist and follow the instructions he or she provides
- Text in simple words; do not use abbreviations or slang
- Keep messages short
Q: How do I know that 911 has received my text?
A: If your text has been received, a 911 specialist should respond to your text. If text-to-911 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message from your wireless carrier letting you know that you must place a voice or relay call to 911.
Q: Is there a charge for using text-to-911 service?
A: Standard text messaging rates apply.