1/19/2017 - 911 - Call When You Can, Text When You Can't

When should you text to 911?

  • When you have an emergency that requires assistance from Police, Fire or EMS
  • If you have a speech or hearing impairment, you can send a text to 911 using a cell phone or other SMS device. It is recommended that you inform 911 of you physical impairment so they can inform the responders.
  • If speaking may cause you harm, such as break-ins or domestic violence situations. Remember to silence your phone so that the sound of 911's responses do not give you away.
  • Peer pressure - you are with a group and some of of the members are doing something dangerous or illegal.
  • If you can not make a voice call with your cell phone because there is no service, you may be able to get data service to send a text.

If you need to use text to 911...

Do not attempt to send videos or photos with your texts. Limit you messaging to text only. Be as specific as possible when providing your location. Provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Exact address to include unit/apartment number and city
  • Business Name
  • The names of nearest intersection or cross street
  • Landmarks

Once the texting session is initiated DO NOT EXIT THE CONVERSATION unit the 911 operator has told you to do so. As with all text messages 911 text messages can take longer to receive, may be delivered out of order or may not be received at all. Text to 911 can not include more than one person, do not add additional recipients to the text. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation. At this time translation services are unavailable and limited to English only. DO NOT TEXT & DRIVE!

How to send a text to 911...

  1. Open your messages
  2. In "to" type 911
  3. In the message field type the location (address & town/city) and brief description of situation
  4. Press Send

Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 operator. Text in simple words - do not use abbreviations. Keep messages brief and concise.

For additional information visit: The State of New Jersey Office of Information Technology