Essex County Virginia

Text to 911

Posted on 09/23/2020

                                                                       ESSEX COUNTY                                  


We are pleased to announce that Essex County now has the capability to receive texts to 911 starting October 1, 2020.


When should I text 9-1-1?

• Text-to-9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:

  1. For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability.
  2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
  3. A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.
  • ONLY text 9-1-1 in an emergency. Prank-texters can be identified and possibly prosecuted according to local laws/regulations


    What are the challenges with text-to-9-1-1 service?

  • As with all text messages, Texts-to-9-1-1 may take longer to receive and respond to than a voice call, does not provide the location of the texter and could be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • Text GPS location information is not equal to current wireless location technology.
  • Voice calls are real-time communication and Text-to-9-1-1 is not.
  • Pictures or videos cannot be received by 9-1-1 at this time.
  • If you include anyone else on your Text-to-9-1-1 it may not be received by 9-1-1.


    How do I text to 9-1-1?

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field;
  • The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include the location of the emergency, and ask for police, fire or ambulance.
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – no abbreviations or slang.
  • Keep text messages short.