Text to 911
Text to 911

Text to 911

Call If You Can. Text If You Must.

Boulder County has introduced text to 911 services in all communities within the county. This new service allows residents to text dispatch during an emergency. Text to 911 is supported by all four 911 dispatch centers in the county which connect callers to public safety response agencies including police, fire, emergency medical services and other rescue teams.

Text to 911 service is enabled on the four major cell phone carriers in our area: AT&T (Cricket), Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. If your carrier does not support 911 texting, or if you are in a location that cannot send/receive text messages, you will receive a bounce back message. Regular text message rates will apply with this service.

Using the text to 911 service is only recommended if it is the only option and making a voice call to 911 is not possible. Remember to Call If You Can, Text If You Must. Some situations where this would be appropriate include:

  • A caller reporting an emergency is hard of hearing, deaf or speech-impaired
  • Voice connectivity is unavailable, but texts can be sent – this is true in some mountain areas
  • Situations when silence is of the utmost importance for your safety– instances of intrusion, abuse or other dangerous situations in which making a phone call would escalate the emergency

If you need to send a text, it should be simple, brief and concise and should not use abbreviations or emoji’s.

Photos or videos cannot be sent via text to 911. You will receive a ‘bounce back’ text saying “Please make a voice call to 911. There is no MMS or Text service to 911 available at this time” if you try to send a picture or video.

Unlike with phone calls, dispatchers will not automatically receive location information. For this reason, if it is necessary to send a text message it is important to include an accurate location or address in the message as quickly as possible.

Boulder County 911 dispatch centers can receive and reply to text to 911 messages but they cannot initiate a text message conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is the ability to send a message to 911. Texting during an emergency could be helpful if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, or if a voice call to 911 might otherwise be dangerous or impossible. But if you are able to make a voice call to 911, and if it is safe to do so, you should always make a voice call to 911.

In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and a wireless service subscription or contract with a wireless phone company. You may also need a wireless data plan. Remember, you can make a voice call to 911 using a wireless phone that does not have a service plan, but you cannot send a text message to 911 without a service contract that includes texting.

Texting to 911 is different from making a voice call to 911 in this respect. When you make a voice call to 911, the call taker will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location automatically. However, in most cases when you text 911 from a wireless phone, the call taker will not receive this automated information. For this reason, if you send a text message to 911, it is important to give the 911 call taker an accurate address or location as quickly as possible, if you can.

Voice calls to 911 are usually the most efficient way to reach emergency help. For example, voice calls allow the 911 operator to more quickly ask questions and obtain information from the caller, while two-way communication by text can take more time and is subject to limits on the length of text messages. In addition, when you make a voice call to 911, the call taker will typically receive your phone number and the approximate location of your phone automatically.

Watch an informational video below:

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Communications

Emergency: 911
Main: 303-441-4444
Fax: 303-441-4739

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Communication Center
3200 Airport Road
Boulder, CO 80301
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