Can You Text 911 in California?

Text 911 CaliforniaThe emergency service response system for the United States, 911, has been working with cellphone companies over the past few years to implement the ability to text “911” in the event of any kind of car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident or another kind of emergency.

Being able to text 911 in an emergency could save lives — if it works.

So far, the job is only halfway done.  All major cellphone companies provide the capability to text 911 but only certain — and very few — emergency call centers across the country are actually able to receive the texts.

In order for this to be a safe and useful addition to emergency services, the public-safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the country need to accommodate for the service.  The Federal Communications Commission has encouraged 911 centers to begin accepting texts, but getting the technology and funding to do so is taking a considerable amount of time.

We think it is important to let you know that the text-to-911 service is not currently available anywhere in California.  In the event that you or somebody else is injured in a car accident or other emergency, be ready to make the call to 911 for help.

But, what would happen if somebody did try to text 911 in California?

The FCC has put safety measures in place to ensure that people who text 911 in an unserviceable area aren’t put in additional danger.

Cellphone providers send automatic bounce-back messages to anyone who tries to text 911 in a county or state where the service isn’t available.  This bounce-back message advises the person to immediately call 911 for their emergency.

Even with this safety measure in place, it is important that you and your loved ones know ahead of time that texting 911 in the greater San Francisco area will not work, and no help will come.  If possible, even when this service does become widely available, you should try to make a direct call to 911.

There are limits to texting in an emergency.  Unlike when you call 911, sending a text message will not automatically notify the call center of vital information such as your location — you have to type that out manually, as well as the state of emergency you’re in.

But, when this service becomes available, it could be useful in some very dangerous situations.  For example, a victim of a domestic attack or being held hostage may not be able to speak safely to a 911 dispatcher, but a text could go unnoticed by the perpetrator.

Car Accident and Injury Attorney

Regardless of the possibilities, this service is still very unreliable.  Everyone here at the Accident and Personal Injury Attorney office of Drake Law Firm encourages you to pass this information on to family and friends.

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Click here to view our infographic on texting 911!

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