The Holly Springs Police Department’s 9-1-1 Center now can receive short message service (SMS) text messages to 911 for emergency help when a person is unable to make a 911 voice call. The center is able to accept (SMS) text messages from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast. The texting option should be used only when calling 911 is not an option.
Text to 911 is intended for use in two emergency scenarios:
- For an individual who is speech or hearing impaired.
- For a person who is unable to make a voice call, for example, during an emergency that renders the person incapable of speech, or in the instance of a home invasion, domestic violence, abduction, or other scenario where the caller could be further endangered by making a voice call.
If you are able to make a voice call to 911, and if it is safe to do so, always make a voice call to 911. Also, as always, never text while driving.
Additional Texting Guidelines to Follow
- Using a phone to call 911 remains the most efficient way to reach emergency help. Texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. Dispatching emergency services in a text-to-911 situation may take longer because of the time involved: someone must enter the text, the message must go through the network, and the 911 telecommunicator must read the text and then text back.
- Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Holly Springs 9-1-1 Center only will receive an approximate location of the cell phone and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text. The information you text about your location will be more exact than cell phone tower triangulation or GPS technology.
- Text-to-911 is not available if you are roaming.
- A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-911 call.
- Text messages sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages. Keep text messages brief and concise.
- Text-to-911 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
- Do not add pictures, videos, other attachments or other recipients to the message.
- Text abbreviations or slang never should be used so communication can be as clear as possible.
- You must be in range of cell towers in Holly Springs to use this service. If you are outside the city limits, the message may not reach the Holly Springs 9-1-1 Center. In these cases, you will receive a 'bounce back' message advising you to make a voice call to 911.
- The texting function only should be used for an emergency situation when calling 911 is not an option.
- Non-emergency issues still should be communicated to the Holly Springs 9-1-1 Center through the non-emergency line at (919) 557-9111.
- Please do not text and drive.
For more information about text-to-911, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Guide and FAQs page.