Text and 911

Kitsap County Launches Text-to-911 Service

911: Call if You Can, Text (Only) if You Can’t

Kitsap 911 (CENCOM) announced today that it has begun accepting Text-to-911 service. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint customers in Kitsap County can now send a text message to 911 in an emergency.

Text to 911 is a new and critical service. It is intended to benefit people that may not be able to speak due to an emergency such as a home invasion, or abusive partner, as well as individuals that are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities.

“I’m proud that Kitsap 911 is the first 911 center in the state to accept text messages,” said the agency’s director Richard Kirton. “Text-to-911 is an important tool that will save lives, but placing a voice call is still the most efficient way to reach help. Beginning today, if you have an emergency in Kitsap County, call if you can, text if you can’t.”


How to Text 911

If Text-to-9-1-1 is available in your area, here are some important steps:

  • Open your phone’s text messaging program.
  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field (no dashes).
  • Type a message with the location of the emergency (including city) and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire, or medical).
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Stay with your phone, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.

Do not send “test” messages to 911.

Text-to-911 service is not yet available statewide.

If you send a text to 911 from a wireless carrier or a city/county without Text–to–911 service, you should receive a message saying that there is no text service to 911 available at this time.

Click Here to see a map detailing Text-to-911 availability in Washington State

Kitsap 911 is live with Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. Carriers that use the Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint networks (for example Virgin Mobile) MAY also deliver text messages to Kitsap 911. If unsure whether your carrier offers text-to-911 contact the carrier directly.

How Text-to-911 Works

A few things you should know about how Text-to-911 works currently:

  • A text plan with a participating carrier is required to place a Text-to-911.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.
  • A group text will cause your message to 911 to not go through. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
  • Text-to-911 is not available if you are roaming.
  • Interpreters are not available for text at this time, text in English only.
  • As with all text messages, messages to or from 911 may have a delay, may get out of order, or may not be received at all.

Text-to-911 Tips

If Text-to-911 is available in your area, here are some important tips:

  • Know your location. You will need to tell 911 where the emergency is located.
  • When texting to 911 for an emergency, the first message should be the location of the emergency (including city) and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire, or medical).
  • Be aware of auto correct especially when providing a location.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise; using full words.
  • If you are using Text-to-911 because you are trying to not be heard, don’t forget to silence your cell phone.