SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County residents can now text 9-1-1 in an emergency — if calling isn't an option — to call for help from any local police, fire, or EMS agency.
Calling 911 is the fastest way to call for help in an emergency, but if calling isn't an option, texting is now available. Texting may be a better option for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, have difficulty speaking, or are non-verbal, the Sheriff's Department says.
To text in an emergency, senders just need to text their location and nature of the emergency to 9-1-1. A dispatcher will respond with followup questions and instructions.
Emergency responders stress that senders do not use emojis, abbreviations, and acronyms. Photos and videos cannot be sent to the number, as well.
Standard messaging and data rates apply and messages cannot be sent that include other people.
Currently, the service is only available in English.
"Similar to 9-1-1 calls, Text to 9-1-1 is for emergencies only. Intentional misuse of the system is a crime and is a punishable offense. If you accidentally sent a message, send a reply clarifying there is no emergency," a Sheriff's Department release said. "Remember: Call if you can, Text only if you can't."