Text to 911

Douglas County 9-1-1 Emergency Services representing the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and fire agencies in Douglas and Alpine County is excited to announce Text-to-9-1-1 service is available countywide. This means the 9-1-1 Emergency Services Center is now equipped to receive and respond to mobile phone Text-to-9-1-1 messages from our citizens.

Individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing members of the community, or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, will have another option to call for help in an emergency, Text-to-9-1-1. The benefits to our citizens are significant, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. Examples include not only the hard of hearing, but also when a crime is in progress, the caller is facing domestic abuse, the caller is injured and cannot speak, or other scenarios.

In anticipation of providing this service, we wanted to share some information with you.

Even where text-to-9-1-1 is available, if you can make a voice call to 9-1-1, please call instead of texting. The guidelines below outline how to contact 9-1-1. If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

• If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”
• If you are deaf and hard of hearing and Text-to- 9-1-1 is not available, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.
• If you text 9-1-1 and text is not available at that time or in your area, you will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”
• Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Be prepared to give your location.
• Text-to-9-1-1 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.
• Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.
• A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.
• Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain popular abbreviations (SMH, LOL, ICYMI) or emojis, which will not be recognized.
• Text-to- 9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
• Texts must be in English only. There currently is no language interpretation for text available. This is still in development.
This is exciting news for our community and we are looking forward to providing this service to our community.

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Text to 911 Fact Sheet