911 text messaging system to launch in early 2019


While King County has announced that it began text-to-911 service; however, South Sound 911 reminds callers that text-to-911 is not yet available in Pierce County.

The agency anticipates launching text-to-911 service countywide in February. If callers send a text to 911 in an area without text-to-911 service, they should receive an automatic reply stating the service is not available.

Text-to-911 is available in some parts of Washington. There are a few things to know about how it works:

  • Texting to 911 is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak or hear in an emergency. The key thing to remember is, “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”
  • 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).
  • Keep text messages brief and concise, using full words.
  • Stay with your phone, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Photos and videos cannot be received by 911 at this time.

For more information about text-to-911, including where the service is currently available in Washington, visit https://www.mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/e911/texting911

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