Santa Clara County residents unable to place a voice call to 911 during an emergency now have the option to text the number instead, thanks to a newly available service.
Users should enter “911” in the “To:” field and provide the location of the emergency and type of emergency in the message field, according to county officials. Do not use slang or abbreviations, and keep messages concise. Currently, the service is only available in English. If the message is received, a 911 call representative will respond.
While voice calls remain the recommended method for contacting emergency responders, texting may help anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a speech disability, according to county officials. It also may prove useful during a situation in which it is not safe to speak or one in which the caller is rendered unable to speak.
Unlike voice calls, texting does not provide the location of the caller, officials warn.
The service is currently available in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County and within all cities but Campbell and Los Gatos; officials anticipate those jurisdictions will be added by the end of 2019.
Standard text-messaging rates apply to texts sent to 911, county officials said.
For more information, visit sccgov.org/sites/opa/opa/resources/text-to-911.