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Check with your wireless phone company. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and a wireless service subscription or contract with a wireless phone company. You will need a “wireless data plan.” Remember, you can make a voice call to 911 using a wireless phone that does not have a service plan, but you cannot send a text message to 911 without a service contract that includes texting.
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Text to 911 is the ability to send a text message (SMS) from your messaging-enabled mobile phone to your local 911 service. Texting during an emergency could be helpful if you are deaf, hearing impaired, have a speech disability, or if a voice call to 911 might otherwise be dangerous or impossible.
TEXT to 911 is not available in all areas. You can check the FCC Text to 911 Master PSAP Registry to learn where TEXT to 911 is currently available.
Text to 911 messages that were not delivered to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) will receive an automated bounce-back message telling users their text did not go through and directing them to make a voice call to 911.
Response time is critical during an emergency. Text to 911 may increase the emergency response time. Additionally, texting to 911 is not a universal service. While currently available in the Central Florida area counties of Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, Orange and Osceola, it is not available in all areas. If you try to Text to 911 and the service is not available, you will receive a bounce back message advising you to make a voice call to 911.
Insufficient access to wireless or cellular service may cause the text message to be delayed or not received by the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Text messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, or other social media messenger apps are not supported by Text to 911.