Text to 9-1-1 is now available in San Diego County. This includes the Sheriff’s Department, all police and fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies. Currently, the service is only available in English.
Calling is still the fastest way to reach 9-1-1. However, there are situations when texting may be the better option:
You’re deaf, hard of hearing, non-verbal or have difficulty speaking
You’re in a situation where it’s not safe to call 9-1-1 for help
You’re having a medical emergency and cannot speak on the phone
How does Text to 9-1-1 work? Enter the numbers 911 in the “To” field. Give the location and nature of your emergency. Send the text message. Do not use emojis, abbreviations and acronyms. Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1. Messages sent to 9-1-1 cannot include other people.
Once sent, respond to dispatcher questions and follow instructions.
Watch the instructional video and public safety message. To download an interview explaining the service and video for broadcast, visit https://spaces.hightail.com/space/hOTEr8sMNI. Data and message rates may apply.
Similar to 9-1-1 calls, Text to 9-1-1 is for emergencies only. Intentional misuse of the system is a crime and is a punishable offense. If you accidentally sent a message, send a reply clarifying there is no emergency. Cell phone reception varies by location. If Text to 9-1-1 is not available, you will receive a bounce back message asking you to call 9-1-1. Remember, call if you can, text only if you can’t.