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Call if you can, text if you can't

Text-to-9-1-1 is a new service in King County that will to help those who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, and anyone who might be unsafe if they were to be heard by an intruder or abusive partner. While texting to 9-1-1 is a vital tool that increases accessibility to emergency services, the preferred method for those who can speak is to call. 

If you do need to text 9-1-1 in an emergency: 

  • Open the text messaging program on your cell phone
  • Create a new message
  • Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field
  • Send the location of the emergency – including city – and the type of emergency help needed – police, fire, or medical – in the first message
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.
  • Type complete words, no abbreviation
  • Stay with your phone and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from 9-1-1 call takers

There are limitation to text-to-9-1-1 including:

  • The system can only receive text, no pictures, videos, or emojis.
  • Texts to 9-1-1 are treated like all other texts, there is no priority.
  • Texting can be slower than making a voice call.
  • The system can only respond to texts in English.

Please help keep 9-1-1 available for those who need it. Do not send test texts. Text-to-9-1-1 is not for anonymous tips.  


Call 9-1-1 if you can or text if you can't


TTY Relay 711