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Text-to-911 Now Available in Davis and Yolo County

Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t

Post Date:December 05, 2018 2:15 pm

9-1-1: Call if You Can - Text if You Can'tThe Davis Police Department, in conjunction with all Yolo County dispatch centers, is excited to announce that we will begin accepting text-to-911 service throughout Yolo County on December 3, 2018. Wireless customers can now send a text message to 911 in an emergency. It is important to note that text-to-911 should only be used in an emergency situation when placing a call is not possible. For example, if the caller is deaf, hard-of hearing, speech impaired, or if speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.

Davis and Yolo County residents needing emergency services are now able to text their situation to emergency dispatchers. Text-to-911 is intended primarily for use in specific emergency scenarios, such as:

  • For individuals who are speech or hearing impaired.
  • For those unable to call 911 due to a medical emergency that renders them unable to speak.
  • In the event of a crime, such as a home invasion, where speaking might give away the location of a person hiding, or in an abduction situation.
  • In domestic violence situations where it’s not safe to make a voice call.

If text-to-911 is not available you will receive a bounce back message; You must call 911 to receive assistance.

When determining whether to make voice call or send a text keep the following in mind:

  • Callers should text 911 only when calling is not an option.
  • Texting is not always instantaneous, which means it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text-to-911 situation.
  • Providing location information and the nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since Yolo County 911 may not receive location information and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text.
  • Those who use the system must have a cell phone that is activated and capable of sending text messages in order to reach 911 via text.
  • At this time, texting is limited to English only. Translation services are available when you call 911.

How to text 911 in an emergency:

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field.
  • First message should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
  • Push the “Send” button.


  • Do NOT Text and Drive.
  • Include your location and the type of emergency.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations, slang, or emojis.
  • Do not send pictures, videos, or other types of media.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.
  • Do not group text with 911.

Text-to-911 Frequently Asked Questions

What is Text-to-911?
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to a 911 dispatcher from your mobile phone or handheld device.

Can I text 911?
Text-to-911 is not available everywhere and is not always available when roaming. You must subscribe to your wireless carrier’s text or data plan in order to make or receive text messages. If text-to-911 is not available in your area or is temporarily unavailable, you should receive a message indicating that text-to-911 is not available and to call 911 for assistance.

When should I text 911?
Text-to-911 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:

  • For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability.
  • For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 911.
  • A medical emergency that renders a person incapable of speech.

What are some of the challenges with text-to-911?
As with all text messages, they may take longer to receive and respond than a voice call and could be received out of order or not at all. Texting 911 also does not provide an accurate or reliable location of the texter as text GPS information is not equal to current wireless phone call location technology. Voice calls are real time communication while texting is not. Additionally, translation services are available with voice calls. At this time, translation services are not available for text-to-911; please text in English only.

How do I text 911?

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “recipient” field;
  • The first text to 911 should be short and include the location and nature of the emergency;
  • Push the “Send” button;
  • Answer the questions and follow instructions from the 911 dispatcher;
  • Text in simple words. Do not use abbreviations, slang or emojis;
  • Keep text messages short (140 characters or less);
  • Do not send pictures or videos to 911.

How will I know if 911 received my text?
A 911 call center should respond to the text. If text-to-911 is not available, you should receive a message from the wireless carrier stating that text-to-911 is unavailable and that you must place a voice or relay call to 911.

Is there a charge to text 911?
Standard text messaging rates apply to text-to-911.

If you have further questions, please contact the City of Davis dispatch center at 530-747-5400 or e-mail

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