Text To 911

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text-to-911_call_if_you_can_logoOn February 4, 2015 the Evanston 9-1-1 Communications Center began accepting text 911 messages. This means that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon customers living in or traveling through Evanston may be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help.

Evanston is the fourth 9-1-1 communications center in Illinois, first on the North Shore, to accept text 9-1-1 messages which are extremely beneficial for those in the community with speech or hearing impairments.

Texting 9-1-1 is an option – only when unable to call. A voice call is the preferred, most efficient way to access emergency services.

Contained in the first text message should be the precise location as well as nature of the emergency. Dissimilar to voice calls; emergency call takers will not be able to determine location or expeditiously ascertain location information from the customer. Abbreviations and slang should not be used.

If a text to 9-1-1 is not answered in a timely manner, customers should not hesitate to place a voice call to 9-1-1.

Evanston 9-1-1 Communications Center Text To 9-1-1 Guideline For Citizens

Call if you can, text if you can’t.

Can I send a text to 9-1-1?

Yes. Cellular customer living in or traveling through Evanston may be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help.

Only text to 9-1-1 when a voice call is not an option (if you are hearing/speech impaired or need to be quiet in a potentially dangerous situation e.g. kidnapping, domestic violence, hostage situation) and for emergencies that require an immediate response from: Police, Fire, or Emergency Medical Service (EMS). For Police non-emergencies, please call 847-866-5000.

How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
  • Always provide your exact location and the nature of the emergency in your initial message;
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Avoid text abbreviations or slang (e.g. IDK THX, 2day, BTW).
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

Below are a few things to know if you need to text 9-1-1:

  •  In the event that you do not know where you are, current technology does not deliver exact location, call takers will continue to depend on you to provide that critical information.
  • Reporting an emergency by text may actually take longer than a voice call.
  • Text messaging is considered a “best effort” service and there is no guarantee a text message will be sent, delivered or received in a timely manner.
  • Text to 9-1-1 may not be available if you are roaming.
  • You must have a mobile phone that is capable of sending text messages and subscribe to a texting plan through your wireless carrier.
  • If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • If you accidently send a text to 9-1-1, be sure to follow it up with another text or voice call to let the call taker know it was an accident and that there is no emergency.