911 Call if you can, text if you can't.Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone.

Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can. Text will be:

  • An additional service for citizens that are hard of hearing, deaf or speech impaired.
  • Helpful in situations when a voice call would endanger the caller such as domestic situations or a home invasion.
  • Also helpful in situations in which the caller is unable to speak due to a medical condition.

Voice calls are still preferred and more effective for most people.  Reasons voice calls are preferred:

  • Voice calls, especially from landlines (home phones), provide more accurate location information.
  • Voice tells more about the situation and environment of the caller.
  • More quickly ask multiple questions.
  • Answers can be clarified if there is confusion.

As with making a 911 voice call, citizens should only text 911 for emergency situations that require a response from police, fire or emergency medical services.

Who Can Text 911?

Currently, not all cell phone providers offer text-to-911 – Check with your mobile service provider to find out if you are eligible.

The following cell phone providers have confirmed with Metro 911 that their text-to-911 service is working in Kanawha County:

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless

This service is for Kanawha County citizens and visitors in Kanawha County only. If your phone is capable of sending and receiving texts, but you do not have a text plan you may be able to text 911 but you may also be charged by your carrier for those texts.

How to Text 911 in an Emergency

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field of a text message.
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

Do not text 911 to “test” your phone.