Call If You Can. Text If You Must.
Boulder County has introduced text to 911 services in all communities within the county. This new service allows residents to text dispatch during an emergency. Text to 911 is supported by all four 911 dispatch centers in the county which connect callers to public safety response agencies including police, fire, emergency medical services and other rescue teams.
Text to 911 service is enabled on the four major cell phone carriers in our area: AT&T (Cricket), Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. If your carrier does not support 911 texting, or if you are in a location that cannot send/receive text messages, you will receive a bounce back message. Regular text message rates will apply with this service.
Using the text to 911 service is only recommended if it is the only option and making a voice call to 911 is not possible. Remember to Call If You Can, Text If You Must. Some situations where this would be appropriate include:
- A caller reporting an emergency is hard of hearing, deaf or speech-impaired
- Voice connectivity is unavailable, but texts can be sent – this is true in some mountain areas
- Situations when silence is of the utmost importance for your safety– instances of intrusion, abuse or other dangerous situations in which making a phone call would escalate the emergency
If you need to send a text, it should be simple, brief and concise and should not use abbreviations or emoji’s.
Photos or videos cannot be sent via text to 911. You will receive a ‘bounce back’ text saying “Please make a voice call to 911. There is no MMS or Text service to 911 available at this time” if you try to send a picture or video.
Unlike with phone calls, dispatchers will not automatically receive location information. For this reason, if it is necessary to send a text message it is important to include an accurate location or address in the message as quickly as possible.
Boulder County 911 dispatch centers can receive and reply to text to 911 messages but they cannot initiate a text message conversation.