In Montgomery County, you can send text messages from your wireless phone to 9-1-1 in an emergency. At this time, Text-to-911 is only available to subscribers of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.
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;
- Or in instances when making noise may endanger the caller, such as a home invasion/robbery, or instances of domestic violence or an abduction.
How to Text 9-1-1 in an Emergency
Only use Text-to-911 in an emergency and if you are unable to make a voice call.
- Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field.
- Describe your location - Text your exact location, address, and municipality (township or borough).
- Describe the situation - Text what emergency help is needed.
- Push the "Send" button.
Ensure that your message is concise, and does not contain abbreviations or slang. We cannot receive pictures or videos via text message. As you wait for a response, remain calm. Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
Call If You Can, Text If You Can't
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:
- As with all text messages, text messages to 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.
- Voice calls are real-time communication and text-to-9-1-1 is not.
- 9-1-1 call takers will not be able to hear any background noise that could help with assisting during the emergency.
- A Text-to-911 message that hits a cellular tower outside of Montgomery County will connect to the emergency communications center where the tower is located. They may not be able to transfer the communications directly to Montgomery County.
- Location information will be limited to the cell tower that your cell phone is communicating through. We won't automatically know where you are.
- 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 9-1-1.
- Don’t abuse Text-to-911. It is only for emergencies. It's also a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Text-to-911?
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message from your mobile phone to get emergency help. It may be useful in situations where it’s dangerous or impossible to place a voice call (e.g., after a medical emergency renders an individual unable to speak, during a home invasion or abduction, during domestic violence situations, etc.) and also for those individuals who are hearing or speech impaired.
However, using your phone to make a dialed call to 911 is the most efficient (and preferred) way to reach emergency help. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if possible.
For Text-to-911 to work, you must be within range of a cell tower serving Montgomery County, you must have a text plan, and your wireless carrier must provide Text-to-911 service in this area.
Is it better to send a text message or make a voice call?
How do I send a text message to 9-1-1?
Is there a cost?
Who is going to answer my text message?
How will you know where to send me help?
Will a text message to 9-1-1 get me help faster?
What phone carriers have systems where texting to 9-1-1 works?
How long will it take for my text message to go through?
What happens if my text message doesn't go through?
Can I text you a picture or video of what's happening around me?
Will you be able to respond to text messages in languages other than English?
Can I send a group text message, like to both 9-1-1 and to my friends, so they'll know that I need help too?
Will my text go through if I don't have 3G or 4G service? Do I need WiFi?
What happens if I'm texting from my car and we travel outside of Montgomery County?
How come I can send a text to 9-1-1 in some places and not in others?
I sent you a text message five minutes ago. How come I haven't heard back from 9-1-1 yet?
Ugh! Why isn't my text message going through?