You can now text to 911 in an emergency

By Adam Zeis on 15 May 2014 09:26 am EDT

Starting today, you'll be able to send a text message to 911 in an emergency situation. The service will be supported by AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Text 911 is only available in a small set of select cities in the US to start, however it will be rolled out everywhere by the end of 2014.

Using the service is easy, just send a new text message to 911 with the details of your emergency — though you'll need to remember to send your location as pinning things down over text isn't the same as it is with phone calls. You'll also be able to send a photo along with your message, though that feature isn't supported across the board just yet.

You can read more on the Text-to-911 service at the FCC's website.

Source: FCC; Via: Lifehacker

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

You can now text to 911 in an emergency


aww are you hurt because you haven't been able to be stupid and say first?? I'm at work, unlike you, besides my home computer is in my basement, my home theater room... you know, where you setup thousands of dollars worth of stereo and video equipment and enjoy it as a man cave? Oh but you probably don't have that or have a clue how to live life of luxury.

Now kindly step away wannabe first troll....

Shouldn't you be working on work related things? :S

To be honest, I was under the impression that is was already out. Oh well, it is good to see it is rolling out.

You seem to have a lot of free time yourself to keep refreshing CB to make sure you beat everyone else to the first comment. Must be a very demanding job..


hahaha when you are a team lead, yes lots of work has to be done, but I also have the time to keep CB open all day long :)

So you have a home theater with thousands of dollars worth of stuff in it, and so you're a team lead. Who cares? You really had to say that here huh, to make yourself feel you're better than other folks here.

Still doesn't give you the right to insult people. You're arrogance makes you the number one troll here in CB.

Z10 STL100-2 / running official

aww are you jealous as well? I'm just stating that I am not anything like what you guys think I am, I live with my fiancee, not with my parents, and I have a decent comfortable life, not bragging about what I have at all, just stating that yes my computer is in a basement, but its in a home theater.

I will stop being the way I am, when people like ibimmer stop being losers about posting first. I left it alone for a bit, and he continues to be stupid, so I decided it was time to be stupid right back.

if he wasn't being immature and saying things like "I'm going to get the P9983rd" or whatever trying to be witty with numerical post positions, I would have no issue at all, but the fact that he does it to try to p!ss me off is hilarious, because it's not p!ssing me off, just shows he's just being just as immature as I am being. I left it alone for a while, and you can see, there are people that say and post first and I don't bother, but its the idiots like ibimmer that do it every time they can, that's just stupid, and immature.

There is no need to post up in the comments that you are first or second or one hundredth. I'm just here to call out those people because they look stupid and I will join them and look stupid with them, as long as they know they are being stupid.

Ok 2 things. First of all what you have and your achievements does not define the person that you are. Your actions do. Secondly, It says a lot that you get so bothered by someone writing first all the time. Why should it affect you? You, getting worked up by that, makes you as bad or even worse than the people you complain about.

Oh Quick! Your rants bring back fond memories of the days we were rival ninjas. Remember where it all started? It started at the battle of Ryan Secret typo article. Oh our battles from then on were legendary!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL!

Me, jealous of you hanging out in CB religiously and watching out for first comments on every article? Sure. I'm jealous alright.

Z10 STL100-2 / running official

Just drop it already. This is getting old. Add something to the topic instead like my idea. Get them a bbm pin so you can just send a glimpse with the message. Forget typing the location.

Posted via CB10

Heck they should have something like face time as well. Point your camera at your killer and you may not live but at least the killer would be easier to identify

Posted via CB10

That's some sick awkward way.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL!

Your too much!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL!

Thanks to quicksilver, I had to read a bunch of bullshit before I could actually see what people thought of this. Why don't you stop posting your unrelated bullshit on every article. Just go home, kid-_-


Who texts in n emergency? Kind of takes away from the danger of an emergency, doesn't it?

CrackBerrians: We stay on our Z's & Q's

Was thinking the same thing. I can see this turning out badly. If you have time to text then you can call too. Although texting can be quieter if there is a break in or something like that. I hope everything is nailed down, no room for errors when it comes to 911.


Deaf people. Or maybe you're trapped in a closet or trunk of a car and don't have access to a phone. Or maybe your landline was cut. The possibilities are endless (and yes, I watch too many movies).

Hey that stuff happens. TV is just slight fluff of what happens or could happen in real life.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL!

+++++ yes! Maybe you cannot talk and afraid to make noise if intruder is in your home. The non hearing is awesome as well to acknowledge!

Posted via CB10

It's a novel idea especially in a scenario where audio could jeaopardize ones security. You can fairly quietly with a touchscreen keyboard

Now I think the clickety clack of the pkb phones would be a detriment to one's safety lol!!!

Posted via CB10

For 99.99% of situations texting 911, instead of calling 911, seems like a very bad idea to me.

If you need 911, time if usually extremely valuable. I can see it now:

"My dad is having a heart attack. lol."

If you are kidnapped, the kidnappers would have to be stupid not to search you and take your phone. The idea seems highly impractical.

Blackberry always.....

Absolutely, there are circumstances where texting 911 is useful. Adam also brought up access for the deaf, which very important. I suspect that these are very small numbers overall, but still very important.

I have this nagging suspicion that some people will simply die unnecessarily because they prefer to text rather than call a live person.

This article really needs to make it clear in the title that this is being implemented by the FCC and is therefore only available in the USA.

Posted via CB10

Certainly. Does it hurt to add it to the article to avoid those questions if you so obviously get annoyed by them?

~ TheRealFixxxer 

Well it starts by saying a select set of cities in the US and then you say it is rolling out "everywhere" after that.

Maybe just change that to "the rest of the USA". US citizens already have the notion that the entire world ends at their borders. No need to add to that delusion. :-P

Blargh, Blargh! CB10 blargh.

If Americans are guilty of narrowing the global borders, aren't non-Americans taking it to another extreme here--broadening them too much? The article clearly mentions US carriers and "small set of select cities in the US" and "everywhere" in that context (and same sentence,) at least to me, is quite clearly talking about the US.

Completely ridiculous on its face.

Unless you have an app that will send a preset text message when you depress an emergency button for people having strokes, heart attacks, choking, or in situations where you can't speak...(Barricaded in a room or in a Domestic situation where the other half is passed out and the children are sleeping) ....etc.

Posted via CB10

When you say it will be rolled out everywhere by the end of 2014, I assume you mean everywhere in the US, correct?

~ TheRealFixxxer 

I think this will work wonders in weeding out non emergencies. It will free up the operators from explaining "missing fries" is not an emergency. Yup, that and other ridiculous 911 calls occur far too often.

It will also work in poor service areas. I cannot make a phone call from inside my house but can send a sms message. If I were to fall down the stairs and break my leg I would have to crawl outside to get service and call 911.

Posted via CB10

Hope they don't get any text spammers from China, Vietnam or elsewhere pushing fake Viagra.... ROTFL

They might need some good filters.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

I think the ability to text 911 is a great idea. Imagine, you're hiding in the closet or under the bed as you can hear your violent ex husband walking only a few steps away...he has a gun and he's sworn to kill you...calling 911 isn't an option right now...if he hears you, you're dead. Oh have the ability to text 911. Luckily, since you have a BlackBerry Z30 with the greatest touch typing experience ever, you can easily copy and paste your address with a cry for help! All he hears are sirens and the house is lit up with that familiar red and blue flashing lights...and not the panicked call from his ex wife, which would have given away her hiding spot :-P

Maybe not a typical scenario, but plausible :-)

Posted via CB10

For certain situations, this will be a good thing. Outside of that, it's going to be a headache chasing down every errant text message reporting something someone dosen't like.

Posted via CB10

Texting 911 is available in some Canadian cities already. It requires the service be set up in advance thru your carrier and is geared towards the hearing impaired.

If you can, call 911, it's best to be able to speak with someone directly.

Posted via CB10

Who is going to train the 911 text operators in the latest 14 year old's text acronyms and shorthand?

This to be effective, there should be ready made messages in your mobile ready to be sent in one click...

e.g. "Please send firefighters and ambulance. Our house is on fire! Located at House 1, 23rd Street, 45 Ave., City"

Posted via CB10

I agree--some sort of a locator system needs to be put in, and I'm not sure if they would be able to tell a location just off a text. In absence of such an app, a system like word substitutions would be great here. You could set "addy" to House 1, 23rd Street, 45 Ave., City and not type out the whole thing. Fire, addy, space, send.

A little BBM integration would be nice. I'm sure in the next few years that they will have all of the bugs worked out and we can send a Glympse to our local police or fire department to pinpoint our location. This should have been already in place back when pagers were in style.

Posted via CB10 with my Z10.

I'm pretty sure calls to 911 don't count against minutes lol. Plus, in a REAL emergency situation, do you really care if you're going to go over your text message allotment?

Edit: unless you meant upping the taxes/fees they collect from us already? Most of the government taxes they pass on to us actually are real. I googled the ones on my bill and they were real. The "administrative fee" on the other hand...

thats exactly what i mean. the "911" fees. i dont care about minutes/text as i have unlimited. its the fees section of my sprint bill that keeps growing over the years

Someone should write an app for this. Preset messages with the location attached to the message might be a help for a response team

I work with people who are speech and hearing impaired... this is a break through we've been hoping and fighting for, it's a pity i've moved to South Africa and this kind of technology won't be available here anytime soon.

Posted via a sexy QTEN

Crackberry team, is it possible to incorporate something like the reddit voting for most valuable comments? These children arguing over firsts make me not want to bother opening the comments.

What about a kid who doesn't know the address where the problem is? 911 is an easy enough number to learn and remember but an app with simple pictures showing different types of emergency situations could be the difference between life and death.

Not that stupid if calling is not an option (low battery, weak signal, etc.) and if the response time is just as good.

I can see uses for it when talking is not an option, but how will texts help with a GPS lock, especially needed if you don't have a 911 address on your line/account?

I would always prefer to call than to text. Because sometimes people can abuse this system by being evil and using somebody's phone to send a rogue call and end up incriminating somebody. No thank you!! A voice call is more legitimate.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

Plus no GPS tracking/location either, which is a big let down/downside. A call willl definitely allow the location to be sent through faster than a sms and telling them of your location.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

I love how American writers always leave location ambiguous in their posts. Don't they realize that they have an international audience?

Posted via CB10

You know like in the movies when the bad guys chasing you up the stairs and u get to a room where you can call the cops but then the bad guys hear you and come in, cut the phone line and kill you...

But Now.. you can open your hub, flick and swipe, quietly and efficiently and kick back looking at that blinking LED light.

Posted via CB10

Good old America (the land of the free but only the ones who can afford it)

Tapping and flicking on my Zed 10

I see one scenario where texting 911 would be useful-active shooter situations. Hiding and texting would be safer than calling and talking..Other than that and hearing impaired folks using text rather than TDD services, that's about it for text 911 usefulness. It would be more useful in a reverse 911 situation though- everyone carries their phones everywhere.

BlackBerry by choice, blackberry for life...

Posted via CB10