Text to 911

Text to 911

Wireless customers in Allegheny County can send a short message service (SMS) text message to a 911 operator from a mobile phone or device.

This allows 911 access to people with hearing/speech impairments, as well as those in situations where it is unsafe to speak on the phone.

Non-emergency issues should still be communicated to Emergency Services through its non-emergency line at 412-473-3056.

Use the texting option only when you are unable to call 911 operators!

    How to Use Text to 911

    • Enter the numbers "911" in the "To" field
    • Send a short message service (SMS) text message (no more than 160 characters) 
      • Use simple words and do not use abbreviations or slang
      • Do not send photos or videos
      • Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911 
    • The first text message should contain: 
      • The location of the emergency, including municipality (the information from your cell phone is not enough for operators to find you)
      • The type of help needed (fire, ambulance, police, etc.)
    • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 operator 

    Cautions 

    • As with all text messages, 911 texts can take longer to receive, can be received out of order, or may not be received at all. Therefore it will probably take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services from a text.
    • Text to 911 is not available if you are roaming.
    • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911.
    • This technology may require upgrades to some 9-1-1 centers and coordination with wireless phone companies.  While Allegheny County has the appropriate technology in place, not all carriers are ready to offer the capability.
    • You must be within range of a cell tower that supports text to 911.
      • If text to 911 is not available in your location you will receive a "bounce back" message telling you that the service is not available in your area and to contact 911 by other means.
    • Do not text and drive!

    To learn more about Text to 911 call 412-473-1000.