Text to 9-1-1
In the summer of 2014 Larimer County introduced Text-to-9-1-1 service in all communities within the county. Text-to-9-1-1 is supported by all five PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) which are the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins 911, Colorado State University Police Department, Loveland Police Department and Estes Park Police Department.
What is Text to 9-1-1?
Text to 9-1-1 refers to the ability to send text messages to local 9-1-1 call centers during an emergency. All dispatch centers in Larimer County are currently equipped to receive and handle text-to-9-1-1 calls.
When should Text to 9-1-1 be used?
Call if you can, text if you must. You should only text 9-1-1 if it is the only option and making a voice call to 9-1-1 is not possible. This service will be very useful to those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech-impaired. Some other examples would be:
- The caller is facing a threatening situation and a voice call could increase the threat.
- The caller is injured or suffered a medical condition and cannot speak.
- The caller is in a remote location and can only send out a text message.
- Phone lines and cell phone towers are overwhelmed and only a text can get through.
How do I text 9-1-1?
- Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field (do not enter with dashes like “9-1-1”)
- The first text message to 911 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 instruction from the 9-1-1 call taker
- Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations
- Keep text messages brief and concise
- Once you have initiated a text-to-9-1-1 conversation, do not delete the message or turn off your phone until the dispatcher tells you it is ok. Call centers can only receive and reply to text 9-1-1 calls and cannot initiate a text message conversation without the caller texting 9-1-1 first.
Do all wireless providers offer this service?
Currently, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Union Telephone Company, Comcast and Viaero Wireless have agreed to offer the Text to 9-1-1 service. Several other Tier 2 carriers also support text to 9-1-1.
Can I text 9-1-1 outside of Larimer County?
If you send a text message to 9-1-1 outside of Larimer County and that area does not currently receive text messages, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and you should make a voice call to 9-1-1.
Can I text 9-1-1 from my free texting application?
Only consumers who have purchased a text or data plan through their wireless provider can send text messages to 9-1-1. Text message rates apply. Over the top applications will not support text-to-9-1-1.
I have a video or picture of a crime in progress. Can I send that to 9-1-1?
No, photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
If I am able to text 9-1-1, will the 9-1-1 call center automatically know my location?
When you make a voice call to 9-1-1, the call taker will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location automatically. This is called “Enhanced 9-1-1” or “E9-1-1.” However, when you text 9-1-1 from a wireless phone, the call taker will not receive this automated information. For this reason, if you send a text message to 9-1-1, it is important to give the 9-1-1 call taker an accurate address or location as quickly as possible.
I don’t live in Larimer County, is text-to-9-1-1 available in other areas?
Currently only Larimer, Pitkin, Arapahoe, Mesa, and Garfield County are able to accept text-to-9-1-1. Click here to see a list of agencies and carriers that currently support texting to 911.