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It turns out that there is a right way to write 911 for emergency relief


Text 911 if you need help but can not make any noise.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

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1 is the best way to ask for help in an emergency situation. However, if you can not call or speak, you may be able to send a text message. In 2014, police stations across America began introducing Text-to-911 a program that allows people in trouble to send messages instead of calls.

Whether you can not make noise because you do not want to be detected by an intruder, have a disability that prevents communication with the operator, or have poor cellular coverage and can not receive a voice call, to-911 is an important tool that you should keep an eye on.

You need to know the following if you ever need to send an 911 distress call. It's one of many ways how your phone can literally save your life .

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What is Text-to-911?

Text-to-911 lets you send a text message to your local emergency responders just as you use them to talk to friends and relatives.

Do I have to do something special to send a text to 911?

no. All you need to do is create a new text message in your phone's messaging app, type 911 as the recipient, enter your message, and press Send.

Should I write a picture of the situation around me?

no. The message systems used by the operators are not comparable to ours and can not receive group messages, photos or videos. Do not use emojis or shortcuts to make sure the operator understands your message. Spell everything.

Does Text-to-911 work for me?

The FCC tracks the various jurisdictions in the US that use Text-to-911 in a list that is updated once a month and is available as an Excel spreadsheet. So it can be searched and you can find your city or county in just a few clicks.

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Make sure you know as accurately as possible what happens when you write 911.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What kind of information should I give to the police in the SMS?

If the operator relies solely on what you send in the text message, try to include as much information as possible in your first message. Some operators will receive your location with the first text message, while other operators may not receive this information depending on the equipment.

For this reason, it's a good idea to specify your location along with any nearby intersections and the name of the building, park or business you are in. Also, tell what the situation is, whether someone is injured, weapons, and so on.

Try to include as much information as possible in a single message to save time and prevent the screen of your phone from being lit repeatedly in a situation where you are trying to hide.

An example of a useful text message would be, "Help, someone broke into my house on Main Street 123. I'm hiding up in the closet and can not talk on the phone."

According to Pueblo County sheriff's office, it is not uncommon for emergency service operators to respond to the first text message they receive, requesting the person to call, if at all possible. The fact that you can not make a voice call in your first message can eliminate additional messages between you and the operator and save valuable time.

What happens if your message is not delivered?

If you are in an area where text-to-911 is not available, you will receive a bounce-back message that indicates that you need to call 911. Depending on the situation, you have time to send a message to 911 and an emergency contact if Text-to-911 is unavailable. Your contact may be able to reach authorities for you.

How do I learn more about Text-to-911 where I live?

If you have more questions, the FCC is an excellent resource for more information about Text-to-911. You can also try searching for the name of your city or county by typing "Text to 911" (for example, "El Paso County text at 911") to see if your local authorities have their own records Practices.

As always, try to stay calm and alert in your environment and make safety your top priority.

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