Text-to-911 Service is now available in Maryland. Effective today, 911 call centers across Maryland will begin accepting text messages via text-to-911 service.
Customers of the four major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) who are enrolled in their carriers’ text messaging and/or data plan can send text messages to 911 in an emergency when they are unable to place a phone call. This includes those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech impaired, those who may find themselves in a situation where placing a voice call could put them in danger, or those who are experiencing a medical emergency and are unable to speak.
While a phone call is still the preferred way to contact 911, the ability to send a text message to 911 gives residents and visitors, particularly those who may have difficulty placing a voice call, better access to emergency services.
If you are in need of emergency services and unable to place a phone call:
- Enter 911 in the “To” line of a new text message.
- In the body of the text, enter the location of the emergency, type of help needed (polie, fire, ambulance), and a brief description of the issue.
- Wait for a response and be prepared to respond to questions being as brief as possible without using slang or abbreviations.
Additional tips for using text-to-911 service:
- As with all text messages, messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may be received out of order, and/or may not be received at all
- If text-to-911 service in not available, you will receive a bounce back message from your carrier telling you to place a phone or relay call instead
- Photos and videos cannot be received by 911 call centers
- English is the preferred language for text messaging, though some limited translation services may be available in your area
- Keep text messages short and simple, and avoid using slang or abbreviations
- Including an additional contact on your text message may prevent it from being received by 911
- Call if you can, text if you can’t
- Do not send a text while driving, pull over.