The Federal Communications Commission has provided the following guidelines on using text-to-911 services:
* Check to see if the 911 call center in your area supports text-to-911. Download the FCC’s list of areas supporting available service (updated monthly). Even in areas where call centers accept text-to-911 service, voice-based 911 service remains the most reliable and preferred method of contact.
* When using a mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:
-- Always contact 911 by making a voice call if possible
-- If you are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-disabled and text-to-911 is not available, use a TTY (teleprinter) or a telecommunications relay service if possible.
-- Remember that in most cases, you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message.
* If you attempt to send a text to 911 where service isn’t yet available, FCC rules require all wireless carriers and other text-messaging providers to send an automatic “bounce-back” message that will advise you to contact emergency services by another means, such as making a voice call or using a telecommunications-relay service.
* The FCC’s text-to-911 rules do not apply to text-messaging applications that don’t support texting to and from U.S. phone numbers.
* Text-messaging apps that only support texting with other app users or texting via social media are not required to support text-to-911.
For more information, go to https://fcc.gov or call 888-225-5322.
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