How to Text to 911

Text to 911 Instructions

If you are in a situation where texting 911 is your best option, follow these steps:

  1. On your mobile device, enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field of a new text message.
    • Be sure to enter only the numbers “911.” Do not enter any punctuation in the “To” field.
    • Text to 911 cannot include more than one person. Do not copy your emergency text to anyone other than 911. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation.
  2. The first text to 911 should be short, include the location of the emergency, and ask for police, fire or ambulance.
    • Keep text messages short. Text in simple words - no abbreviations or slang.
    • Translation services are not available at this time; therefore, any text to 911 call placed in Loudoun County should be in English.
    • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.
  3. Press the “Send” button.
  4. Answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call-taker.
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A 911 call center should respond to the text. If text to 911 service is not available where you are located, you should receive a message from the wireless carrier stating that text to 911 is not available. Instead, place a voice call to 911; or if you are hearing impaired, text Virginia Relay (711) to connect to 911.

Emergency Circumstances

Only text 911 in an emergency in the following circumstances:

  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability.
  • If you cannot speak due to an injury or medical condition.
  • If you are in a threatening situation and a voice call could increase the threat.
  • If you cannot make a call because your mobile phone reception is poor.

Please note that although text to 911 will be available in Loudoun County and all of its incorporated towns as of March 1, 2016, text to 911 is not available in every jurisdiction and is not always available when roaming. Also, you must subscribe to your wireless carrier’s text or data plan in order to make or receive text messages.