SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County residents can now text to 9-1-1 in an emergency if you can't call. This includes the Sheriff's Department and all police and fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies.
Authorities still advise calling, which is still considered the fastest way to reach 9-1-1.
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
- Respond to dispatcher questions and follow instructions
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
Data and message rates may apply. Authorities said, do not use emojis, abbreviations and acronyms. Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1. Currently, the service is only available in English. Messages sent to 9-1-1 cannot include other people.
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, authorities said. 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.
You can watch an instructional video and public safety message here.