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9-1-1 accepts text messages

9-1-1 accepts text messages

Cellphone users in Douglas and Elbert counties can send a text message to 9-1-1.


Did you know that you can send a text message to 9-1-1?

Available in Douglas and Elbert counties since 2015, texting to 9-1-1 provides accessibility to the hearing- and speech-impaired population and provides an alternative to reach help in a dangerous situation when a voice call is not possible or where a voice call fails due to a high volume of activity.

The Douglas County Emergency Telephone Service Authority (DCETSA) is excited to enhance its public safety services and join other Colorado agencies such as Arapahoe, Jefferson, Broomfield, Larimer, Eagle, Pitkin, Mesa and Garfield counties, which are already providing this service.

While the service is now available, individuals are asked to “call if you can, but text if you must.”

How to text to 9-1-1:

  • Enter the numbers 911 in the “To” field.
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
  • After sending the first text, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 text recipient.
  • Please text in simple words and keep messages brief and concise. Do not use abbreviations.

When to text to 9-1-1:

  • If you are hearing-impaired.
  • When a voice call could increase a threat.
  • If you are injured and cannot speak.
  • If you are in a remote location and can only send a text message.

Please note, that the four major carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless — have agreed to offer the text to 9-1-1 service. However, this does not mean that the service is available in all areas or with other carriers. Should you be out of the area, for that carrier, you will receive a message stating that the text service is not available and to call 9-1-1. Photos, videos and other attachments cannot currently be sent to 9-1-1 via text, although those capabilities will be available in the future.