Mobile users in Orange County now have the ability to send text messages to 9-1-1, giving hearing and speech impaired residents, or those in situations where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, a potentially life-saving option. This new tool is available to the public using a mobile phone or device. The location services on the mobile device must be enabled.

Watch this short video to learn more: Text 9-1-1


Below are guidelines for how to text to 9-1-1:
  • Enter the numbers "911" in the text "To" field.
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should contain the location and brief description of the emergency and the type of help needed (police, fire, ambulance).
  • Push the "Send" button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 text taker.
  • Text in simple words. Do not use abbreviations, emojis, or slang.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides additional details on contacting 911 via text in an emergency:
  • If you can, always contact 911 by making a voice call, "Call if you can…text if you can't."
  • If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech disabled, and Text-to-911 is not available, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.
  • Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Be prepared to give your location.
  • Text-to-911 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.
  • Text-to-911 is not available if you are roaming.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911. They cannot be received at the 911 call center at this time.
  • Text-to-911 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
  • Text must be in English. There is currently no language interpretation for text available. It remains in development.