Can I text 911?

Text to 911Yes, however texting should only be used if you are not able to call 911. New Hanover County's Public Safety Communications Center is able to respond to text messages sent to 911, however this service is not available in all areas of North Carolina or the United States.

If You Must Text 911

  1. Enter "911" in the "To" field. Do not include additional phone numbers in your emergency text as the text-to-911 service does not support multiple recipients.
  2. Send the location and brief description of the emergency, with the type of help needed, in the body of the text.
  3. Be prepared to answer additional questions from the 911 operator.
  4. Use simple words.
  5. Do not use abbreviations.
  6. Keep text messages brief and concise.

Keep in mind that 911 text messages can take longer to receive, may be sent out of order, or may not connect with the 911 center depending on your cell phone's signal. If text-to-911 is not supported in your area or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating you need to call or use a telecommunications relay service to reach 911.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind if You Must Text 911

  • A text or data plan is required to send a text to 911
  • Text-to-911 is not available if you are roaming
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent via text to 911 at this time

For more information and to check the availability of text-to-911 in other areas, visit the FCC's website.

Show All Answers

1. Can my cellphone dial 911 if it has been disconnected?
2. What if I have special needs?
3. What should I do if I accidentally call 911?
4. Can I text 911?
5. How do I request a record from a 911 call?