Currently, most public safety answering points (PSAPs) cannot accept 911 calls via text message. However, efforts are underway to make this service more widely available to provide more access to 911 for people with disabilities and those in situations when it is dangerous to make a voice call to request help. In 2014, the four largest wireless service providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon), in conjunction with the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), agreed to provide all 911 call centers with the ability to receive texts. Since then, nearly 1,000 PSAPs across the nation have configured systems to receive text message requests for 911 services.
In areas where text-to-911 is not available, a user attempting to text 911 will receive an automated bounce-back message that indicates the text’s failure to be delivered. In these cases, the user should then contact 911 by other means, such as a phone call.