Text-to-911 is Now Available in Santa Clara County

Text to 9-1-1 is an option to help those who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, and anyone who feels unsafe speaking over the phone.

News Release​

Call if you can. Text if you can’t. 

Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to ask for help. 

Under the current U.S. technology, English is the only option to use the Text to 9-1-1.

The Text to 9-1-1 service is available in most areas of Santa Clara County. See the FAQ for available cities. It should only be used for emergencies when callers cannot safely call 9-1-1 or have hearing or speech impairments. 

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    Text to 9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from your mobile phone or handheld device. 

    • Text to 9-1-1 is not available everywhere and is not always available when roaming.
    • Text to 9-1-1 is currently available in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, and the cities of Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. The cities of Campbell and Los Gatos are expected to offer the service by the end of 2019. 
    • You must subscribe to your wireless carrier’s text or data plan in order to send or receive text messages.
    • If Text to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating that Text to 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
    • Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can. Text if you can’t.”
    • Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:
      1. For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
      2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
      3. A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.
    • ONLY text 9-1-1 in an emergency. Prank-texters can be identified and may be prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.​
    • As with all text messages, Text to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive and respond to than a voice call, does not provide the location of the texter and could be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
    • Text GPS location information is not equal to current wireless location technology.
    • Voice calls are real-time communication and Text to 9-1-1 is not.
    • Pictures or videos cannot be received by 9-1-1 at this time.
    • If you include anyone else on your text to 9-1-1, it may not be received by 9-1-1.
    • At this time translation services for Text to 9-1-1 are not available; please text in English only.​
    • Enter the numbers 911 (no dashes or spaces) in the “To” field.
    • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief. Include address, city and type of emergency (police, fire or medical).
    • Push the “Send” button.
    • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
    • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations or slang.
    • Keep text messages brief and concise.​
    • A 9-1-1 call center should respond to the text.
    • If Text to 9-1-1 is not available, you should receive a message from the wireless carrier stating that Text to 9-1-1 is not available and that you must place a voice or relay call to 9-1-1.​
    • Standard text messaging rates apply. ​
    • Currently, Text to 9-1-1 is only available in English.​

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